Belfast Telegraph

Belfast councillor in apology after 'one-armed bandit' row at meeting

By Jonathan Bell

Belfast City councillor David Browne apologised after claims he called a disabled Sinn Fein representative a "one-armed bandit".

During a committee meeting at City Hall on Friday, the UUP man made a comment about councillor Ciaran Beattie.

The Black Mountain representative lost his left hand after being caught in an explosion during the Troubles. He has served on the council since 2013.

Sinn Fein Belfast City Council leader Jim McVeigh described the comments as "vile" saying they would be making a report to the Local Government Ombudsman.

"They are disgraceful and should be withdrawn immediately," he said

“Someone should tell the UUP that this is the 21st century and that such comments are highly inappropriate. This type of abuse can rightly be deemed a hate incident and has no place in our society never-mind being spoken by an elected representative."

Alderman Browne, is a former deputy lord mayor of Belfast and has served on the council for over 20 years.

He said: “I should not have said what I said, and apologise for saying it. However I won't be taking any lectures from Sinn Fein or their group leader.

"I too am physically disabled. I regret lowering myself to the same level as Sinn Fein."

He added: "Jim McVeigh is a former car bomber, who was caught in possession of explosives and also convicted of conspiracy to murder and has never apologised for his thoroughly vile actions when he was trying to murder people on the streets of our Capital City.

"His actions never had any place in our society.”

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