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Sinn Fein man won't be referring himself to watchdog over coarse email

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Email row: Garath Keating

Email row: Garath Keating

Darryn Causby of the DUP

Darryn Causby of the DUP

Email row: Garath Keating

A former Sinn Fein mayor who sent a constituent a profanity-laced email advising to "stay the f*** at home" will not be referring himself for investigation.

Garath Keating, a councillor on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, apologised after including his fellow councillors in the response to a query about recycling centres and parks.

In the email he also referred to constituents who "throw their rubbish about the place" as "irresponsible c***s". He later sent a follow-up email apologising for his "unprofessional language".

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Keating said his language was "inappropriate" but not "of sufficient concern to require a referral" to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards.

He added: "No, I haven't reported myself to the Local Government Commissioner.

"Whilst I appreciate my choice of language may have been inappropriate, I do not feel that the communication itself was, in the context of the current health crises, of sufficient concern to require a referral to that body.

"I am familiar with the applicable code of conduct for LGCs. I personally do not feel that my email was incompatible with the same.

"I did not direct any of my comments at the recipient of the email personally and I have offered a very public apology for the unprofessional language used within the email."

However, DUP councillor Darryn Causby said the comments were "deeply inappropriate" and Mr Keating should refer himself to the commissioner.

"It is right an apology has been issued, even though it appears only to have been issued after he inadvertently sent the email to all councillors and had been caught being incredibly rude and unprofessional," he said.

"As a former Lord Mayor he should know better. Councillors may have deep feelings about these matters, but we must always keep our discourse civilised and professional."

Current Lord Mayor Mealla Campbell also moved to distance the council from the remarks.

"The views expressed are those of an individual councillor and not the council," she said.

"The language and tone used in the email is not representative of the way in which the council carries out its business.

"It is my understanding that Cllr Keating has formally apologised for his conduct."

Belfast Telegraph