Complaints over Deputy Mayor ‘gay’ remarks

The Deputy Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Councillor Thomas Kerrigan. INLS2415-155KM
The Deputy Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Councillor Thomas Kerrigan. INLS2415-155KM

A total of nine complaints have been lodged with Derry City & Strabane District Council over comments made by Deputy Mayor Thomas Kerrigan about people who are gay.

Two weeks ago the DUP Councillor stood over earlier comments he made stating that gay people should turn to God to be healed and refused to apologise for the remarks.

His comments were made after the vote on equal marriage in the Assembly, and the Derg councillor also commended his own party after it lodged a Petition of Concern which effectively killed off any chance of equal marriage becoming law.

One complainant, Sha Gillespie, outgoing chair of the Foyle Pride Committee, wrote: “As the deputy first citizen of our Council area, Thomas Kerrigan is expected to act as a representative of everyone, including LGBT people, and has a duty to ensure principles of equality and fairness”.

She added that this was enshrined in the ‘Role of Mayor’ principles, and questioned what action the council was taking over his comments.

A council spokesperson confirmed that nine complaints in total have been received. She added that the council “is not in a position to comment on the personal or religious views of its elected members”, adding that all elected members must ensure that their conduct complies with the Northern Ireland Local Government Code of Conduct for Councillors “set out by the Department of the Environment”.