Lisburn North Councillor Margaret Tolerton has denied suggestions that she mocked Syrian refugees.
The DUP representative was criticised in a Belfast newspaper after sharing a Facebook post showing an adult in a pram alongside the caption, “First Syrian toddler arrives in Belfast!”
But Councillor Tolerton insists she was not mocking the plight of refugees, but rather the government system being used to bring refugee children from the migrant camp in Calais to the UK.
“The plight of all refugees is terrible and beyond our comprehension,” she commented. “The process of locating them in safer environments has been abused. Despite apparently rigorous checks adults have been given placements reserved for unaccompanied children. This cannot be condoned.”
Cllr Tolerton added: “I feel the refugees fleeing their homes in the Middle East and Africa and beyond need help to remain in their own countries and not feel threatened or be at risk of death by encouraging them to undertake perilous journeys organised by ruthless men who seek to make huge profits from their desperation.
“The images we see on our televisions are heartrending and no end appears to be in sight. There must be a way for European countries to minimise the trauma and continuing danger of abuse etc by agreeing a just, fair and sympathetic manner of looking after these desperate people.”