Complaint made over children at Poppy event

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It is understood that a Portadown councillor is at the centre of a complaint after she took her daughter to a recent Poppy Appeal launch.

Councillor Margaret Tinsley was attending the event in St John’s Church, Lurgan, in an official capacity and was accompanied by her 11-year-old daughter, Anna.

A few days later, a complaint was allegedly lodged by a fellow councillor with the chief executive and Lord Mayor’s office of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.

It is understood that as a result of the complaint, the DUP member decided not to wear her ceremonial robes at Remembrance Sunday in Portadown, as she wanted to bring her children, James (14) and Anna, to the memorial service.

When contacted by the Portadown Times, Mrs Tinsley confirmed there was an issue around Remembrance Sunday but said she didn’t want to go into the details lest it detract from the importance of Remembrance Day and what it represents.

However, she did say, “What happened has been very hurtful and personal. I wanted to take part in a dignified Remembrance act with my family and let the children remember their great-great-grandfather James Falloon who perished at the Somme.

“I think it is very important for young people to remember, to ensure we don’t repeat the mistakes and prejudices in future generations.”

Mrs Tinsley said both of her children had attended events in Lisburn (where her husband James was Mayor and is still a councillor) since they were babies “and were welcomed with open arms”.

“We were very much encouraged to bring the children to civic events as a family, including Remembrance,” she said.

Mrs Tinsley added that just a few weeks ago, she had taken a group of people from The Reach Youth Club to a Remembrance event in Brownlow House. ”Beforehand, a lot of them didn’t really understand what Remembrance was about,” she said.

The Portadown Times contacted the council for a response but none had been received at the time of going to press.