Motion seeking apology over Queen tweet is adjourned for legal opinion

Cllr Paul Maguire raised 'Point of Order over Motion.. ( Editorial Image).
Cllr Paul Maguire raised 'Point of Order over Motion.. ( Editorial Image).

Mid & East Antrim Councillors have adjourned a notice of motion seeking an apology from Sinn Fein’s Patrice Hardy over a tweet she sent about the Queen recently.

The adjournment was called for by Council’s CEO Anne Donaghy at the reconvened March monthly meeting on Tuesday after a point of order was raised by Cr Paul Maguire.

Proposed by Ald Gregg McKeen, seconded by Cr Timothy Gaston, the motion read: “That this council demands a public apology and states that we have no confidence in Cllr Hardy as Vice Chair of the Community Planning Committee, after her recent derogatory publication on social media about Her Majesty The Queen”.

The previous month, Cr Hardy posted a picture of herself in front of a portrait of the Queen in the council chamber on Twitter stating “Big Liz says Dia dhuit”; a greeting in Irish. She subsequently removed it.

On Tuesday night, Cr Maguire stated: “This motion states that this council demands a public apology. Clearly this council demanding a public apology is a sanction and is clearly ultra vires the duties and responsibilities of the council. Neither has council the legal competence to impose any sanction upon a member, the mandate for dealing with this motion lies within the Local Government Act NI 2014...and therefore is a matter is not for discussion by council but for the NI Ombudsman.”

Mrs Donaghy told councillors she had referred the matter to Council’s solicitor for an opinion and called for the motion to be adjourned until that was obtained.