SDLP man hits out at Alliance leader over online insult

SDLP candidate Pat Catney with fellow Lisburn and Castlereagh City Councillors Geraldine Rice and Vasundhara Kamble.

SDLP candidate Pat Catney with fellow Lisburn and Castlereagh City Councillors Geraldine Rice and Vasundhara Kamble.

SDLP election candidate Pat Catney has criticised Alliance Party leader Naomi Long over comments she made on social media about two Lisburn and Castlereagh councillors.

Mrs Long made an insulting remark in a Facebook chat about Cllrs Geraldine Rice and Vasundhara Kamble, who recently quit the party after making allegations of ageism and racism.

The Alliance leader has denied the allegations made by the two women, who have since become independents and voiced their support for Cllr Catney in next month’s Assembly election.

Referring to Mrs Long’s Facebook post, the SDLP man said: “In an era of mutual respect and equality, such comments are not befitting of any public representative, and especially not from the leader of a political party.

“Naomi Long should clarify if she did or didn’t make these comments and apologise to the two councillors in question if she did. I also call on local Alliance candidate Trevor Lunn to clarify that he does not support or endorse these comments in any way.”

An Alliance Party spokesman responded: “The comments were made in a light hearted manner in a closed Facebook group. The two ex-members resigned, making claims which have not been supported by specific evidence.”