General Election: Sinn Fein candidate says 'debt collector' quip 'misrepresented' by opponents
A Sinn Fein Foyle candidate has said comments she made about debt collectors while canvassing in the constituency have been "widely misrepresented and misunderstood".
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Critics said Elisha McCallion insulted and "demonised" residents after posting a Facebook Live video last week while canvassing in the Cornshell Fields estate in Shantallow.
It is understood that, while walking down the street with her canvassing team, she encouraged residents in the area to answer their doors, adding they should not worry as she was not a "debt collector".
Cornshell Fields is an estate of almost 300 family homes on the outskirts of the city made up of a mix of social and private housing.
Residents took to social media over the weekend to vent their fury over the quip, which was taken down after comments were made that the content was derogatory.
Posting on Facebook, the Sinn Fein candidate said: "Comments that I made on a Facebook live post have been widely misrepresented and misunderstood over the past few days.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I would never intentionally cause hurt or upset to anyone.
"I am very proud of the community in which I was born and have lived all my life."
Mrs McCallion said she knows "all too well" the hardship brought onto families and individuals who struggle to make ends meet.
"I try hard to promote everything positive about my community, our city and our people," she added.
"Anyone who actually saw the video will know that it was a light hearted exchange on a canvass.
"I have a solid track record of working in and with the community.
"I am confident that most people will have a better sense of me than political opponents who have been so quick to misrepresent me."
Gary O'Doherty, a father-of-three who lives in Cornshell Fields, said that the claims of a "debt collector" quip were "highly insulting".
"Both my wife and I work very hard. I am a community nurse and my wife is self-employed," he said.
"We work hard and pay our bills. We own our own house and for Elisha to say something like that is really insulting."
Belfast Telegraph Digital