The Northern Ireland Office paid a senior civil servant £10,000.
How would you like to complain about being offended by someone or something, and get to a month touring Australia for your entire family for your trouble? Well now you can! A precedent has been set, folks! Thus, I’m going to bring a case of gross offence about all the facially-clad ‘women’ in Bradford. My compensation should be enough to enable me to buy a ticket on Virgin Galactic.
The precedent? One Lee Hegarty on Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission. For the uninitiated out there who don’t live in Northern Ireland, the Parades Commission is a government body that adjudicates on street parades, mostly by members of the Loyal Orders. Basically, if the sight of a Union flag offends someone who habitually votes for a party up to its neck in terror, kneecapping and abduction, you can’t parade there. Consequently, you have to be a certain type of ‘special’ to want to serve on it. A bit like sad cases who desire to become parking wardens.
Hegarty has now been paid £10,000 in compensation. With all that dosh, Hegarty can now take Mrs Hegarty and his tribe of little Hegartys on holiday Down Under. For ten grand, he could go via two nights in Hong Kong. Lovely!
So what was it that caused Hegarty to feel so aggrieved? Did someone put a packet of dog shit in his office top drawer? Did a mischievous underling snap a photo of him taking a dump in the Parades Commission lavvy, before making it go viral on social media? Did a fellow commissioner suggest he wanted to have a bit of rumpy-pumpy with Mrs Hegarty beneath the sheets in his spacious Malone Road haven? Nah! Hegarty received his copious spondulix – most of the notes emblazoned with an image of the Queen’s head, I hasten to add – because he was offended by portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hanging on the wall in the Parades Commission building.
If an individual can be ‘hurt’ and ‘distressed’ by simple image of the Queen, are we really certain they have the mental capacity to carry out an everyday office job? I mean, if someone told me they were ‘hurt and distressed’ by pictures of Her Maj and Prince Philip hanging on a wall, I’d suggest they book themselves in for assessment at Fieldhead mental hospital in Wakefield. It seems not only was morality checked in at the door when the Belfast Agreement went live, much common sense was as well.
Commentary by Andrew McCann
The Northern Ireland Office paid a senior civil servant £10,000 in compensation because he was offended at having to walk past portraits of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, it has been claimed. Lord Maginnis told the House of Lords the NIO made the ‘scandalous’ payment in an apparent effort to salve the official’s ‘hurt feelings and distress’, and later promoted him.