Anger over Belfast council worker's email about 'horrific Brexit mistake' sent to all councillors
Belfast City Council bosses are set to launch an investigation after an employee sent out an email to every local representative and staff member calling Brexit “a horrific mistake” that must be overturned.
Last night, councillors described the email, sent from a council account during working hours, as “outrageous” and said it merited disciplinary action.
The email, sent to all councillors and council staff, has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph and includes an employee’s name and position.
Addressed to “fellow Europeans”, it states: “A horrific mistake was made on Thursday by an electorate misled by a self-serving media and politicians trying to sell papers and gain political points through division.”
It then claims that the Leave camp had not expected to win “and are quickly back peddling” before referring to Ukip leader Nigel Farage in disparaging terms. “For those who voted remain, do not accept this, contact your MLA and tell them to vote down article 50 if and when it is proposed,” it states.
“For those who voted Leave but now regret it, then it is perhaps even more important that you contact your MLA and tell them that you have changed your mind. For those who voted Leave and have not reconsidered, then I urge you to look around you and think again.”
TUV councillor Jolene Bunting — who raised the email with the council’s chief executive, Suzanne Wylie — claimed that it “may well merit dismissal”.
She added: “Everyone is entitled to their own political views, regardless of how undemocratic those views may be, but they are not entitled to use council facilities to propagate them.
“A democratic decision was taken and yet an employee of the council appears to have taken it upon themselves to urge a rejection of the will of the people. This is totally out of order.”
Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers added: “In all my years in City Hall, I don’t recall anything like this. It is a serious breach of the code of conduct which must be investigated.”
Alliance councillor Michael Long said: “I can understand people’s passions and emotions, but it is inappropriate to use the council email to promote any political cause in that way.”
A Belfast City Council spokesman said: "Belfast City Council has a policy in relation to ‘ALL BCC emails’ which is that they are only to be used for operational reasons and not for personal messages or opinions, and any breaches will be investigated. We will not comment on matters pertaining to any individual member of staff."