Pregnant Alliance Councillor hits out at DUP over breastfeeding comments

A pregnant Alliance Councillor has hit out at the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, after he described a recommendation allowing mothers to breastfeed in the House of Commons as ‘voyeuristic’.

Later changing his remarks to refer to it as ‘exhibitionism’, Belfast Councillor Sian O’Neill said she was ‘disgusted’ at the comments, adding she was planning on breastfeeding her baby in the Council chamber if needed.

Councillor Sian O’Neill said: “When I first heard these comments this morning my immediate thought was that it was a joke – I couldn’t actually believe that in 2016 an elected representative could say something so damaging to women.

“Both terms used by Sammy Wilson sexualise a natural activity, at a time when we should be doing all we can to encourage more women into politics.

“As a woman I found his remarks both offensive and patronising and screaming of the old established men in grey suits image politics often struggles to shake.

“As a mother to be his comments completely attacked my natural rights, a right I plan on utilising to the fullest by breastfeeding my baby in the Council chamber if the need arises.

“Thanks to the ongoing work of Belfast City Council Women’s Steering Group, City Hall will be a more welcoming place for me to nurse my child than it seems Sammy Wilson would like.”

“It’s 2016 and we need to stand together to make sure views like Sammy’s are seen for what they are – out of date and perverse. I would urge him to apologise as soon as possible for the remarks and would further question what his Party Leader Arlene Foster thinks of his attempts to block a working mother balancing political and family life.

“I’m thankful that both Alliance and Belfast City Council are more in tune with what families need than those who believe in the sexualisation of a natural act.”

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