SINN Féin election candidate Elisha McCallion has claimed a Facebook live post in which she appeared to make derogatory comments about residents in deprived parts of Derry were widely “misunderstood”.
In a video post, which was subsequently taken down, the Foyle candidate encouraged residents of Cornshell Fields to answer calls to their homes as they were from Sinn Féin canvassers and not “debt collectors”.
The comment provoked a furious reaction online while both the SDLP and People before Profit called on Mrs McCallion to apologise.
Cornshell Fields in the Greater Shantallow area has a mix of social and private housing with some areas suffering from high levels of social deprivation.
While a Sinn Féin spokesman refused to comment on the post saying he hadn’t seen the video, Mrs McCallion said yesterday her comments were “misrepresented and misunderstood”.
In a post on her Facebook page, the Derry politician 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.”
Mrs McCallion said anyone who saw the original video would know it was a “light-hearted exchange on a canvass”. She said she had a 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,” she said.