Lavery allegedly called “b*****d” during vote

An Alliance Party councillor said a meeting of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council had “sunk to a new low” after alleging his party colleague had been called a “b*****d” by someone else attending the meeting.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 11:31 am

The incident is alleged to have occurred during the confidential section of Council’s monthly meeting held on Monday, November 22.

Raising a point of order in relation to mode of address, Cllr Tennyson claimed Councillor Peter Lavery had been the subject of some profane language by someone attending the meeting and asked the Chief Executive, Roger Wilson, to investigate the matter.

“Standing order 21.1 concerns mode of address and states that when a member is speaking other members should show respect,” said Cllr Tennyson.

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Cllr Peter Lavery.

“That is a far cry from what we just witnessed during the confidential section of the meeting when, during a vote, a member, I’m not sure which member, uttered a profanity in the direction of my colleague Councillor Lavery as he cast his vote.

“I am up for debate but no one comes to this chamber to be bullied, denigrated or abused and that is what happened in the confidential section of this meeting.

“I am going to ask that the Chief Executive see that is investigated fully and appropriate sanctions are levied on the councillor responsible as this is not the first time standards of respect have slipped in this council but it is a new low and I have to ask that particular member to reflect on their actions and if they have any sense of humility they would admit and own up to what they have done.”

Following these comments, Council’s Lord Mayor, Alderman Glenn Barr said he did not hear the comments being made but “was aware somebody had said they heard something being said” but explained it is not for the Chief Executive to investigate.

“It is up to the ombudsman to decide so it would be up to yourself or Councillor Lavery to go to the ombudsman and seek an investigation,” he explained.

Taking to social meeting after the meeting, Councillor Eoin Tennyson said: “Just when you think the level of political discourse couldn’t sink any lower, a councillor labels my colleague (Cllr Peter Lavery) a ‘b*****d” during a vote.

“No one goes to work to be verbally abused or bullied. A new low for ABC Council. People rightly expect and deserve better.”

He also said he would not be naming the person who allegedly made the comment “until we’re confident we can distinguish the individual from the recording”.

Councillor Peter Lavery said he will always stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who has been bullied.

“It was sad to hear Eoin,” said Cllr Lavery. “I will always stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who gets abused no matter their background. They can always count on me to back them to take on the bullies.”

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