In her regular column in the Belfast Telegraph tonight (5 December), Nuala McKeever commented on the 'non-apology' by Lord Mayor Niall O'Donnghaile:
Well, its been a week of backhanded apologies .. First it was the Lord Mayor of Belfast. He's had a rough week and is probably considering renaming the position 'Nightmare' as opposed to Lord Mayor.Niall O'Donnghaile refused to shake the hand of a young Army cadet at the Duke of Edinburgh Awards in the City Hall last week.If he was in the running for consideration on an Olympic Mayoral Team, he'd probably just have missed the cut. He turned up, he appeared able, but at the last hurdle, he backed off and got four points for a refusal.But when the crowds complained, he 'apologised'.That word is used rather too loosely. Because when someone apologises, but it's clear that they don't actually think what they've done needs an apology, then it's not really an apology, is it?He said he was sorry for offending the young girl and her family and was prepared to meet her and then to reassure them that his actions were 'nothing personal'.Well doesn't that rather negate the apology right there and then?Of course it was personal! It was him. It was her. Then it was her and not him. It was her and his stand-in. There was a hand shake but not from the Lord Mayor. His hand did not touch her hand. His individual hand refused to touch her individual hand. Can you get any more personal than that?