Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: John Finucane may have been 'caught short' but our First Citizen fell short of the standards most would expect


Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane
Belfast Lord Mayor John Finucane

Lindy McDowell

When he was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast one of John Finucane's pledges was that he would make Belfast City Council "as green and as clean as possible".

A few weeks later he was caught peeing in a city centre street. Mr Finucane has now apologised after this newspaper revealed the "indecent behaviour" that led to him being slapped with a community resolution notice in June this year.

It's fair to say there are few people who won't have had their own bladder emergency at one time or another. So we can all sympathise with Mr Finucane in that respect.

But actually "going" in the street is a different matter entirely. Especially for the man who is First Citizen of this city. Apart from anything else, in the midst of an election campaign, he's laid himself wide open to a whole, shall we say, stream of jokes about the incident. Will he be elected as an M P-er? Does he support the pees process? Urination once again?

On a more serious note however - and without wishing to be too po-faced about it - there are many people who will rightly feel disgusted by his behaviour.

And not all of them will be his political rivals either.

His explanation, that he'd gone to his office, found he'd forgotten his keys and so tried to find "somewhere as discreet as possible" off the main street is no justification for urinating in a public place.

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What of the other pedestrians who'd be walking along that "discreet" place next day? And how "discreet" was it really that police officers managed to spot him?

Not only was his behaviour revolting, it was also utterly disrespectful of other members of the public. This is a professional middle-aged man. Not some teenage yob. He has no excuse.

The way John Finucane puts it is that he was "caught short" that evening. It was certainly short of the standards most citizens would expect from their Lord Mayor.

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