DUP councillor Henry Reilly expresses thanks in Irish during council meeting

Mournes councillor Henry Reilly.Mournes councillor Henry Reilly.
Mournes councillor Henry Reilly.
A DUP councillor has taken to his feet to thank an SDLP rep for his service – in Irish.

There were smiles around Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chamber on Wednesday night (May 22) as veteran unionist Henry Reilly addressed outgoing Environment Committee Chairman Terry Andrews telling him “go raibh maith agat Ceann Comhairle”, or ‘thank you chairperson/speaker’.

The move came as the Committee chairperson Terry Andrews stepped down ahead of the summer.

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He told councillors: “This has been a brilliant committee to be on and I’d like to thank the deputy chair, Willie Clarke (Sinn Fein) for his support and stepping in when I was unavailable.

“I would like to thank all the committee members throughout the year for their cooperation and making my job easy. I’d also like to thank the team of officers and the democratic services team. And finally to the staff who make sure the machine is well oiled with the tea, coffee, biscuits and sandwiches.”

Mournes DUP rep, Henry Reilly got up to leave his desk, but leaned into the microphone, saying: “I just want to say, go raibh maith agat Ceann Comhairle.”

Cllr Andrews responded, in light laughter, saying : “Slán abhaile, Henry,” which translates to ‘goodbye/safe home’.

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The exchange contrasts with outgoing DUP MP Gregory Campbell who addressed the Assembly in 2019 saying “Curry my yoghurt can coca coalyer”. He was censured for the move, being barred from speaking for one day.