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Northern Ireland’s Junior Minister Apologized

Northern Ireland’s Junior Minister Apologized

A junior minister from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party expressed his regret for making awkward comments about the country’s golf clubs. Jonathan Bell commented during a community relations conference that Northern Ireland’s golf clubs may hold secret sectarian attitudes.

Bell later admitted that he regrets his statement and realizes that it was a clumsy comment. “Sorry is what I essentially want to say,” he said. “It was a clumsy use of language. I think the point that we all wanted to make today was that sectarianism wasn’t confined just to working class communities.”

He went on to say, “Golf plays a vital role in our society. You look at Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, you look at the record numbers coming to the Irish Open, you look at the positive contribution that golf has made in bringing groups together.”

Sinn Feinn’s Junior Minister Martina Anderson was also caught similar comments about golf clubs. “There’s attitude among middle class society here in the north, in the golf clubs that Jonathan referred to and elsewhere. Talked about behind closed doors the unspoken and hidden sectarian comments that we may not hear about, but that are doing absolute fundamental damage to our society,” she said.

However, Peter Sinclair of the Golfing Union of Ireland refuted what the junior ministers said by stating, “I completely and utterly disagree with what the two junior ministers have said. Our council represents a very broad section of the community irrespective of religion and class and we all get on extremely well. Discrimination has never been an issue in our sport and I hope it never will.”

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