SDLP man in Scottish ‘subtitles’ row once described Duchess of Cambridge as ‘stinkin’

SDLP Derry City Councillor Jimmy Carr has unreservedly apologised today for remarks he made about a Sinn Fein councillor’s Scottish accent.

Writing on a social networking site on the internet Mr Carr claimed he “can’t understand” Sinn Féin councillor Eric McGinley and that “subtitles” are needed when the other councillor speaks.

The councillor made the comments following a row this week over funding for the restoration of the Bogside Artists’ murals.

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It is the second time the SDLP man has become embroiled in a row due to comments on facebook.

Before the 2011 local government elections, the then SDLP candidate made a comment referring to the Royal wedding, describing the former Catherine Middleton as “pure stinkin’’.

After the Londonderry Sentinel sent a ‘screen grab’ of the comment on Mr Carr’s facebook account to the nationalist party, a spokesperson for the SDLP said: “This comment was completely in jest in response to a friend’s comment on a Facebook page, which only has private access.

“In fact, Mr (James) Carr actually believes that Kate Middleton is a beautiful young woman and that she was simply stunning on her wedding day.

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“Mr Carr has since removed the comment as there was absolutely no offence intended to either his friend on Facebook or anyone else.”

This week, posting on the website of the Bogside Artists about Derry City Council funding for the maintainance of the famous murals, Colr. Carr stated: “What makes it all the more sickening is the shinner who put forward the proposal to block is a Scotch man! Subtitles needed!”

The SDLP councillor initially said yesterday he did not intend to withdraw the comments but insisted that it is “not racism.”

But in a statement issued today (Friday) he said: “I want to unreservedly apologise to Cllr Eric McGinley for my rash and insensitive remarks.

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“I will be offering my apology in person to Cllr McGinley today.

“I regret that I did not take the opportunity to retract the words I used in Facebook earlier.

“It is now clear to me that my attempt to justify or explain the context of the original sentiment has only served to reinforce people’s misgivings.

“I am deeply sorry that I allowed my genuine frustration about an issue of some civic principle and fairness to be expressed in terms which would be found unworthy of myself or my party.

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“As well as offering my apology to Cllr McGinley I also want to apologise to all my party colleagues and members for expressing myself in such terms that failed to represent the SDLP’s ethic of inclusion and respect for diversity.

“I respect the valuable contribution that many people who are originally from outside Derry make in so many ways to the life of this city.

“I should not have allowed any frustration in the Council Chamber or in the media to come over as prejudiced or insensitive in any way.

“I hope that Cllr McGinley, my own party and the Derry public whom I am proud to serve will accept this reflective retraction as a truer measure of my nature than the rash words or defensive outbursts which caused the offence which I recognise and want to repair.”