A restaurant in Belfast has been criticised for "trivialising domestic violence" after using a sign featuring the words "Ya can beat the wife" to advertise its £5 lunch deal.
Botanic Avenue eatery Ribs and Bibs placed a chalkboard sign on the street outside its premises yesterday afternoon, bearing the phrase: "£5 til 5! Ya can beat the wife but ya can't beat a 5 pound lunch!"
Attached to the board is a copy of the restaurant's Stop the Clock menu.
However, the establishment said sorry to this newspaper after a public outcry.
Last night, the restaurant's head chef, Keith Patterson, apologised for the sign, which he said had been erected without the knowledge of management, and added that the staff member responsible would be disciplined.
"As far as I was aware the board said fish, mushy peas and chips," he said.
"I wasn't here at the time and it was done by a member of staff who has only worked here for a couple of weeks. He was the only person working out the front at the time. There was no management on the floor at the time.
"He decided to write a quirky thing on the board, and when someone took offence he took it down within half an hour.
"He told us he doesn't condone domestic violence himself and didn't mean to offend - he was trying to get the word out about our £5 lunch.
"It's a stupid, stupid remark and myself and the restaurant owner Malachy Turner would like to apologise on behalf of the restaurant for any offence caused. We don't condone domestic violence. The member of staff who wrote this will be disciplined."
South Belfast SDLP MLA Claire Hanna slammed the wording on the advertising board.
"It's hard to believe that there is anybody who would either find this funny or think it's an appropriate way to promote a business," she stated. "Domestic violence is still an enormous issue in this society - it claims lives, terrorises people and uses an enormous amount of police resources. It shouldn't be trivialised or made light of. I think that this restaurant should make a donation to a charity which supports the many victims of domestic abuse."
Domestic violence survivor Brenda Gough, a member of the Feminist Forum Belfast, said she had been left "horrified" by the incident. "What if a woman who was a victim of domestic violence was walking down Botanic Avenue and saw that sign and thought that she was being made a joke of?" she asked.
"I'm a survivor of domestic abuse, and I was horrified to think that anybody thought physical violence towards anyone would be acceptable, especially when so many people are killed by domestic abuse. I think the restaurant should make a substantial donation to a refuge or domestic violence charity."