Northern Ireland news

Joe Brolly hits back at calls by Monaghan council for him to apologise over 'Clones-Calcutta' comparison

There were calls last night for Joe Brolly to apologise. Picture by Mal McCann

OUTSPOKEN GAA pundit Joe Brolly remained defiant last night despite calls by a county council for him to apologise for labelling Clones 'Calcutta, Ireland'.

Monaghan County Council passed a motion calling on the former Derry footballer to apologise for the "critical and disrespectful" comparison.

In an article about the Ulster Gaelic football final in the Sunday Independent on June 5, Mr Brolly made reference to traffic issues in the town on that day claiming householders charged for parking on their property.

He referenced a young boy charging for parking outside his house, squeezing multiple cars into the front lawn with "no gaps between them" and no lane for exiting after the match.

"Welcome to Calcutta, Ireland," he wrote.

The article also referred to the journey home after the game and stated: "Six or so miles outside Calcutta, driving at an average speed of 4mph...".

It is not the first time that Mr Brolly has used derogatory remarks about the Co Monaghan town. In 2019, he referred to Clones as the "Bangladesh of Ulster" and a "capital of gombeenism".

On Tuesday, a motion was passed by Monaghan County Council calling on the All Ireland winner and the Sunday Independent to apologise for the latest comparison.

The motion was brought forward by Fine Gael councillor Richard Truell, who said comparing Clones to one of India’s poorest slums was completely wrong.

Mr Truell said it was "insulting to the people of county Monaghan".

After the motion was passed, councillors also agreed to write to Mr Brolly and the newspaper to express its "deep disappointment".

But Mr Brolly yesterday appeared to dismiss calls for him to apologise and instead said he wanted to say sorry to the people of Kolkata - the official way of spelling the city’s name - for comparing their city to Clones.

"Upon reflection, I would like to extend my apologies to the people of Calcutta," he told The Journal.

"In no way did I intend to demean them by comparing them to Clones."

He also repeated his criticism of parking issues in the town and said he was stuck in traffic in Clones for three hours after Derry’s win.

"Every single person charges you to park in their lawns, driveways, fields," he said.

"Then you’re just jammed-in, you can’t get out after the game.

"There’s nowhere else to go."

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