Ballymoney – ‘Town of bigots’…

WHEN Ballymoney Council was asked to provide Irish street names in three villages last week, the vote didn’t pass – perhaps unsurprising in a unionist-dominated council. However, the vote was (I believe) four for and four against, with the mayor – hardline Paisleyite John Finlay and casting vote holder – abstaining. Like Finlay, most of the DUP councillors actually abstained, with only two DUP and two independent unionists voting against the signs. The Council seems to have gone against the spirit, if not the letter, of its own rules. It’s something you’d expect Irish language newspaper La Nua to get annoyed about, and it does, in its balanced front page story last week. However, the headline on the splash – Baile na mbiogóidí (Town of bigots) – goes beyond ‘whataboutery’. Fighting perceived sectarianism is fair enough – but labelling the entire population of Ballymoney as bigots is counterproductive and just plain stupid. Just imagine a whole town suing a paper for defamation…!