A UKIP councillor’s claims that a Ballymena playpark was used as a public toilet by what she termed ‘foreign nationals’ have been condemned by the SDLP’s Declan O’Loan.
Cllr. O’Loan is the only local politician to speak out against what he described as the ‘deplorable statement’ made by UKIP’s Donna Anderson UKIP regarding the alleged behaviour in King George’s Park in Harryville.
And he blasted the UKIP representative for ‘presenting second hand reports as facts’.
Cllr. Anderson, who represents Ballymena Town on Mid & East Antrim Borough Couucil, had claimed she was contacted by parents of local children three weeks ago about the issue.
She said that members of the public told her they had witnessed a foreign national sending her child into the bushes directly behind the Play Park ‘not only to urinate but also to open their bowels’.
Cllr. Anderson said she was contacted again this week by other shocked parents who told her of witnessing a ‘heavily pregnant foreign national dropping her trousers and to urinate quite openly in the green area of the park’.
The councillor fumed: “I am disgusted and appalled by this filthy behaviour, which is an affront to public decency. I urge anyone to witnesses such unhygienic behaviour to contact me.”
Cllr Anderson added: “Such activity is unacceptable in this country. Communities do not fight to have their areas improved only to have hard-won facilities used as a public toilet by outsiders.
“Their thoughtless actions affect the health of our children and create the impression of a community content to wallow in filth. At a time when Ballymena is desperate to attract economic investment, the stupidity of people who have no background in the town threatens to place future prosperity in jeopardy.”
Police in Ballymena said they had no reports of any form of indecent behaviour at the park.
And Cllr. O’Loan argued that the claims made by Cllr. Anderson were. highly implausible.
“If any of this happened, to attribute it to ‘foreign nationals’ in general has no justification. At a time when racial incidents are being officially reported as being 20 per cent up after the Brexit vote, politicians should be careful in their language. Most of us will know and appreciate the real and valued contribution of newly arrived residents to our community, and will reject the language adopted by Councillor Anderson.”