'Irish' Councillor Apologises For Irish Jibe

Following concerns from resident who witnessed Ealing Council meeting

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Conservative Cllr Colm Costello

Labour Cllr Ray Wall

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A local resident who attended a meeting of Ealing council this week, says he was appalled that an Irish Councillor was subjected to mockery by the Labour group - simply for being being Irish.

Mark Stevens, said that during the debate one of the Conservative representatives listened to general abuse directed at him in a 'mock' Irish accent.

Mr Stevens, writing on the Ealing Today forum, said:

''The implication was that the Conservative Councillor didn't have a clue what he was talking about because he was Irish. Most of the Labour Councillors, not all, thought this was hilarious. I didn't.

''In this day and age, stereotying people like this is not on. For that reason, I won't be attending council meetings again.''

The Councillor who faced the jibes - Colm Costello (Hobbayne) has told Ealing Today that he complained to the Council leader at the time but wasn't taking the issue any further. He said it was now a matter for the Labour group.

Ealing Today contacted the Labour office and were sent this apology from Councillor Ray Wall (Hobbayne) who said:

'' Both my parents were Irish and I consider myself Irish so any suggestion that I would say or do anything that would be disrespectful to the Irish as a community is absolutely preposterous. If a member of the public inadvertently got that impression I am sorry.

''As a child and youth I spent a large part of my life living in Galway with my mother's family and when I hear a Galway accent I sometimes lapse into one myself as it is so particularly familiar to me and Cllr Costello's accent is identical to my own mother's.

''It happened at a point in the meeting when Cllr Costello was making false accusations, pointing his finger towards me in what I perceived to be a menacing fashion and saying 'Ill tell you now..'  I merely repeated his own words back to him in question format saying, 'Oh will you now? Go on then tell me now!'

''I regret if any member of the public construed what I said as disrespectful to my own community however that was never my intention.”

Last month the Conservatives expelled a Councillor from the party for making offensive comments about Southall on his blog.

The Hanger Hill representaive, Benjamin Dennehey, now sits as an Independent.


14th June 2012