The Peace Process in Larne

Aug. 27, 1999 The home of Danny O'Conner, a SDLP Northern Ireland Assembly member, was attacked with a petrol bomb. The Ulster Defense Association (UDA) is believed to have been responsible for this attack which caused no damage.

Aug. 17, 2007 Insults fly after council debate gets out of hand

Disability groups have slammed a former Larne mayor after he branded a council colleague who lost both legs "stumpy".

The SDLP's Danny O'Connor fired the jibe at the DUP's Bobby McKee during a heated meeting at the council's Smiley Buildings HQ earlier this week.

A former member of the UVF, Mr McKee lost both his legs when a bomb exploded in his car in 1974.

Chief Executive of Disability Action, Monica Wilson, said disabled people will be offended by Mr O'Connor's remarks.

She said: "Disability Action would recommend that the councillor should consider his language; the term used is extremely offensive not only to the councillor but also to many disabled people."

Mr McKee, who branded Mr O'Connor "fat" during the council chamber fallout, last night said he had accepted an apology from the SDLP man.

He added: " I lost my legs 33 years ago and for someone to bring that up after I have served both sides of the community for 20 years, and have been honoured by the Queen for it, is hard to take.

"The debate was a legitimate debate and it got out of hand. Danny later apologised for saying what he said and I accepted it.

"I also called him fat and it wasn't a very nice thing to say at all and I have apologised to him. These things happen. There's many a slip between the cup and the lip."

A founding member of the Northern Ireland Amputees Association, Mr McKee said he now considered the matter closed.

Larne Mayor Mark Dunn was forced to adjourn the heated council meeting for 15 minutes during which efforts were made to calm the feuding pair down.

Mr O'Connor later said he was "truly sorry" for his outburst and apologised to the council.

The Belfast Telegraph made a number of attempts to contact Danny O'Connor without success. An SDLP spokesman offered no comment.

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