29 December 2005

West is ‘depraved’ says UUP councillor


by Damian McCarney

A County Down Ulster Unionist councillor is standing by his claim that West Belfast is “depraved”.

Eddie Rea, a councillor in Killyleagh, made the shock comment in an interview with a local newspaper published last week. Mr Rea stood by his slur on the community this week when he spoke to the the Andersonstown News.

“That is what you would say if you drive through it. It’s graffiti and old untidiness and stuff. It is generally untidy and down in the heel. It is still running fairly high in unemployment.”

He said that he made the comments because South Down Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane had been speaking about the “regeneration of Ireland”.

Therefore Mr Rea sought to illustrate the futility of Sinn Fein’s economic policies in practice by focusing on West Belfast, the constituency of the President of the party sits.

“I would argue their ultra-socialistic viewpoints are not the way back.”
He does not believe that it is just West Belfast that is “depraved”, but also areas which have poor leadership.

“There are a hell of a lot of unionist areas that have not been led out of the depravity they have been living in… and there has not been good political leadership on the ground.”

When asked if he understood that West Belfast people might find it offensive that he described them as depraved, which is defined in the OED as “morally corrupt” he said, “You might find it offensive, but I’m trying to help. Would you waken up and smell the coffee? Start believing in yourselves.

“You don’t have to follow a semi-Marxist agenda. It’s leadership. If you put people who do not have the right economic strategy in as leaders – God help the people.”

Ironically Mr Rea only came into politics five years ago, after selling his textile company as the ailing textile market could not compete with the Marxist economy of China.

“It was bucked,” said Mr Rea, “thanks to the Chinese.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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