Councillor Carol Black has admitted to a ‘lapse in judgement’ over her involvement in a Halloween incident which has outraged war veterans and their families.
The UUP councillor appeared in photos on social media holding fake explosives alongside a fellow party-goer dressed as Osama bin Laden.
Councillor Black has been accused of disrespecting the memory of soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq just days before Remembrance Sunday and there have been calls for her resignation.
In offering her apology Councillor Black said: “This was a lapse in judgement on my behalf and I sincerely apologise for any offence caused.”
Emphasising that no insult was intended, she continued: “I fully support our Armed Forces and would in no way intentionally seek to cause offence to anyone whether they are veterans, their families, the wider community or members of my own family who currently serve in Her Majesty’s Forces.”
DUP MP David Simpson said he was ‘appalled’ at this type of behaviour displayed by an elected representative.
“As an MP for an area that has lost two young men to the conflict in Afghanistan - Lance Cpl Stephen McKee from Banbridge, a member of 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment killed in operation and Lieutenant Neal Turkington from Portadown who was serving with 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles I find this behaviour from Carol Black as insulting, insensitive and hugely offensive,” he said.
DUP MLA Brenda Hale also commented on the incident - Mrs Hale having lost her husband Captain Mark Hale in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, in August 2009.
“This is distasteful and utterly appalling,” she said.
“In a few days we will have our national commemoration for the 453 soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan yet here is an elected representative making light of the matter.
“It is an offence to the men and women who have gave their lives.
“Regardless of the intent, I am shocked at the disrespect not only towards the families of the bereaved and injured service personnel but also to the many innocent victims of al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.
“Planting and detonating a bomb is not something to be joked about by comedians let alone an elected politician.
“I understand that people can get carried away at a party but this demonstrates poor judgment.”
DUP Councillor Mark Baxter added: “This is at best a serious error of judgement.
“A week before we remember our fallen shows scant regard for the feelings of our armed forces and their families”.