Offensive ‘IRA card’ cleared from shelves

A birthday card which included details of an IRA bombing has been withdrawn from the shelves of Lisburn retailer Cardland following a complaint from a Star reader.

Last week the Lisburn man who did not want to be named, was looking for a card for his wife’s 40th birthday.

He came across one in the Cardland branch in Bow Street Mall and said he couldn’t “believe his eyes”.

He said: “I opened the card and it had a list of news from the year 1974 inside it. Right at the top it said how the Irish Republican Army had bombed the mainland. I was disgusted. Who would think of putting that on a birthday card?”

He continued: “My uncle was seriously hurt by an IRA bomb and reminders like this on a birthday card of all things is very insensitive.”

The Star approached Cardland and the firm has since agreed to withdraw the card from its 25 stores in Northern Ireland.

Jim McAllister Managing Director Cardland Retail Ltd. said: “Cardland are a small Scottish company who employ 100’s of people across Northern Ireland.

“We fully understand the sensitivities concerning such matters like this. We continually strive hard to ensure that we don’t cross the line or upset any person or community to which we equally serve.

“We try as always to serve our customers with the best and most modern up to date Cards and Gifts possible.

“We procure our stock with diligence and consideration not to cause offence. However, due to the huge volume in Cards that we supply which offers the best choice to customers it is simply not possible for us to read in detail each and every card that we stock.”

The spokesperson continued: “The Card in question is from the Year Card range. These Cards are extremely popular in Northern Ireland. The Card itself presents the recipient with the headline news for their Year of birth.”

He added: “We value each of our customers and take into serious consideration all of their views. Cardland prides itself in its policy and ethos to provide quality cards at the best prices for our customers and in so doing we strive to make all our customers feel valued and happy.”

A spokesman for Cherry Orchard Publishing said: “We are as upset as the person reading the card as this type of historic information is meant to be informative to the reader but not in any way meant to upset anyone in whichever area we sell our cards.

“We now realise that we need to be more careful of the content and sensitivity of the historic information we publish and, as the publisher, we can honestly say that we have learnt a valuable lesson from this unfortunate incident.”