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I’d rather go to Outer Mongolia than visit Co Tipperary, says councillor

He is famed for his politically incorrect outbursts.

And Moyle councillor Randal McDonnell has sparked yet another row after claiming he would rather go to Outer Mongolia than the Co Tipperary town with which his council is linked.

At a meeting earlier this week, the eccentric independent representative, who owns a bar in Cushendun, controversially rejected a formal request to visit Nenagh in the Irish Republic.

“What would anybody want to go to Nenagh for? I would rather go to Outer Mongolia,” he quipped.

Moyle and Nenagh have been linked for the past 25 years and each year a delegation from the Tipperary town attend the Lammas Fair in Ballycastle. This year a reciprocal invitation was extended to Moyle councillors.

Mr McDonnell, who famously described the Lammas Fair as an “affliction”, however, immediately dismissed the offer.

Defending his chamber colleague, chairman of Moyle Council and Northern Ireland’s longest-serving councillor, Price McConaghy, said: “This is just what we expect from Randal. I think everybody knows him by this stage. I don’t really think he means half the things he says. I think he just says them to shock people.

“To be honest, Randal is one of our most sensible councillors, he is a very intelligent man.”

Seamus Morris, mayor of Nenagh, said he wouldn’t allow the caustic comments to sour relations between the two towns.

“Councillor McDonnell is entitled to his opinion, but it is completely wrong, and I think based on ignorance,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“Nenagh has a very rich sporting and historical heritage. We have been linked with Moyle for over 25 years and always had a very open relationship. I was up at the Lammas Fair a few weeks ago and received a very warm reception. His view is not shared by his fellow councillors, who were very kind to us.

“We teamed up when things weren’t too good and since then there has never been a cross word between the two towns.”

Mr Morris, a postman who is in his second stint as mayor, also offered to show Mr McDonnell the highlights of his home town.

“Nenagh is very accessible, has a lot to offer and I would extend an invitation to Mr McDonnell to come down and visit us. I will even show him round,” he said.

“I was very surprised to hear the comment, but I am not offended by it. There are much worse things going on in the world to worry about. They are only words and he is entitled to his opinion.”

Belfast Telegraph