Foyle Sinn Féin Westminster candidate Elisha McCallion has said that a “light-hearted” comment she made during canvassing has been “widely misrepresented and misunderstood” following criticism.
In a Facebook Live post while canvassing in a housing estate in Derry, Mrs McCallion urged residents not to be afraid to open the doors as they were not debt collectors.
Among those who criticised the post were Creggan Community Collective CCC who said they were “appalled” at the remarks.
In a statement the local community organisation claimed Ms McCallion’s remarks “trivialises the traumas faced by many struggling families in the North West”.
“Firstly, we would say that debt is not a laughing matter especially given the time of year when families will be put under extreme pressures to cope with expense that now comes with Christmas,” CCC stated, adding that Ms. McCallion should apologise to the residents in the estate “as she has profiled everyone living there as being living in debt”.
“Many families in our communities are struggling to exist on a daily basis, with the effects of having to cope living on benefits, minimum wages and dependence on local food banks.”
Responding to such remarks, Ms. McCallion said: “Anyone who knows me knows that I would never intentionally cause hurt or upset to anyone.
“I am very proud of the community in which I was born and have lived all my life.
“I know all too well the hardship brought onto families and individuals who struggle to make ends meet.
“I try hard to promote everything positive about my community, our city and our people.
“Anyone who actually saw the video will know that it was a light hearted exchange on a canvass.
“I have a solid track record of working in and with the community.
I am confident that most people will have a better sense of me than political opponents who have been so quick to misrepresent me.”