A district secretary of the Orange Order has refused to comment after writing on Facebook in the wake of Gerry Adams’ arrest last month that cyanide “adds a lovely flavour to porridge”.
Gary Wilson from Kesh made the comment after the Sinn Fein President was held in custody at Antrim Police Station in connection with the murder of Jean McConville, the Belfast mother of ten.
Mr. Wilson posted the message on the Facebook page of Alex Baird, an Ulster Unionist councillor who completed his period as chairman of Fermanagh District Council on Monday.
The on-line discussion began on May 4 when the Erne West politician wrote: “As Antrim Police Station is providing bed, breakfast and evening meal to Gerry Adams I wonder if Tripadvisor will include it in its ratings. Presumably Adams would provide a traveller rating of terrible”.
Taking to Councillor Baird’s page, Mr. Wilson wrote in response: “Couldn’t be terrible enough... little sprinkling of ground cyanide adds a lovely flavour to porridge!” And, two hours later Councillor Baird replied: “I just hope that he gets the porridge he deserves”.
While Councillor Baird did not make the cyanide comment, nor has any control over who comments, the remark was posted on his social-network where it was still visible this week.
Mr. Wilson, a prominent Orangeman, did not comment on this despite being contacted by The Impartial Reporter on several occasions, and nor did the Grand Orange Lodge. But Councillor Baird did.
When asked for his response to Mr. Wilson’s specific comment, which was in response to a post he had written, Councillor Baird said: “I don’t recollect doing that... yeah, I did a bit of banter on that there. But I was very careful with Facebook over the election period. I tried putting a bit of humour into it. That’s thrown me, I don’t remember that – that sound’s like a politician’s answer,” he said, adding: “It’s the first time I have looked at it”.
Councillor Baird added: “What date was that on? The fourth of May? Was that in the middle of the election campaign? That doesn’t sound like me but it is down against me, so what can I say? I certainly wouldn’t wish ill or hurt to anyone – I can assure you of that.” The politician reiterated his point, saying: “I honestly don’t remember that. I am using a pun on the porridge he deserves.
“That’s in relation to doing porridge as in doing time. I certainly couldn’t condone and I am sure Gary... I am surprised he put that... I don’t know where Gary is coming from in that at all,” he said.
Councillor Baird, who paid tribute to his wife and family when he stepped down as chairman of Fermanagh District Council this week described the election period when the remark was made as “hectic” and added: “One needs to be careful on Facebook”.