Warwickshire councillor, who is also a part time magistrate, suspended from council
A Conservative councillor has been suspended after posting an offensive tweet directed towards Irish people during last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Nick Harrington, of Warwickshire District Council, wrote: “#Eurovision2017. Thanks Ireland. You can keep your f****** gypsies!” after none of the Irish judges appeared to vote for the British entry – ‘Never Give Up on You’ by Lucie Jones.
“Hard border coming folks!” he added, in reference to Ireland’s position in the Brexit negotiations.
The tweet received 14 likes and 11 retweets but was quickly removed.
Mr Harrington’s account has also been deleted but a number of outraged social media users managed to screen grab his remarks. Irish journalist Naomi O’Leary tweeted: “British Conservative councillor keeping #Eurovision nice and light-hearted there” while referencing the original tweet. She later followed that with:
Oh look, he deleted it. Here's the screenshot. pic.twitter.com/rtqJqZXQUY
— Naomi O'Leary (@NaomiOhReally) May 14, 2017
He has been suspended from his position at the Council for six months.
Andrew Mobbs, leader of the Council, said: “I find these comments completely unacceptable. I have had a number of people contact me by telephone and email this morning with concerns.
“I have suspended councillor Harrington from the Conservative group on Warwick District Council for six months. There will be an investigation.”
Mr Harrington was also suspended by the Conservatives, according to a spokesperson for the Party.
Another social media user, Muiris O’Dubhthaigh, wrote: “This is Team Mays councillors at their “best”. Absolutely unbelievable @nickjharrington”.
Traditionally, Eurovision contestants feel as if they have a chance to score more points from neighbouring countries. Irish judges opted not to give Lucie Jones any points, while the public awarded her four.
At this outcome, the former X-Factor contestant jokingly tweeted:
Oooooh Ireland. It burns!!
— Lucie Jones (@luciejones1) May 13, 2017
She finished in 15th place out of 26 entrants with 111 points but drew widespread praise from British viewers.
Ireland’s entry, ‘Dying to Try’ by 20-year-old Brendan Murray, was knocked out during the second semi-final.
The competition, which was held in Kiev, was won for the first time by Portugal thanks to Salvador Sobral’s effort ‘Amar pelos dois’.