BELFAST Lord Mayor Kate Nicholl has criticised "insincere congratulations" from an anti-abortion group which used a picture of her pregnancy announcement to support its campaign.
The 33-year-old Alliance councillor revealed she is expecting her second child in May - the first holder of the office to have a baby during their term.
Both Lives Matter, which campaigns against pregnancy termination, posted the newspaper picture of Ms Nicholl and her family holding ultrasound images on Twitter, describing them as "an important reminder of the dignity and value of pre-born life".
In the ensuing thread, the group challenged the Lord Mayor to "in the... defend the use of images showing the development of the baby in the womb to be shown to the public", saying "in other contexts images like these are deemed by some in Belfast City Council as offensive and graphic, and attempts are being made to ban their public display".
Ms Nicholl responded that she is "so happy to be pregnant, however not everyone has my circumstances".
"While I respect differing views on the matter, I will always support a woman's right to choose what is right for her.
"I deeply resent the insincere congratulations offered in this tweet."
People Before Profit councillor Fiona Ferguson offered congratulations to her fellow representative and "solidarity for this attempt to use her good news for their warped campaign".
"Conflating ultrasound images with the (often faked) images that anti-choicers blow up to re-traumatise women shows that 'both lives' do not matter to this group.
"Ultrasounds can bring hope and joy. Your stalls are distressing," she told them.