SNP's James Dornan keeps digging over false accusation of anti-Catholic bias at Lothian Buses – John McLellan

In June readers may remember the baseless accusation by SNP MSP James Dornan that Lothian Buses managers had cancelled services on St Patrick’s Day because they blamed Irish Catholics for attacks on buses.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 4:45 pm
SNP MSP James Dornan questioned why buses were cancelled on the night of St Patrick's Day, a 'ubiquitous Irish Catholic holiday' (Picture: John Devlin)

It mattered not to Mr Dornan that bus drivers had been subjected to repeated attacks for days before the company’s patience ran out, that it was the St Paddy’s booze-athon was a coincidence, or that it’s not a purely Catholic thing anyway.

All the same, he told the Scottish Parliament in June that “I can only assume that Lothian Buses concluded that… Irish Catholics were to blame”.

But in a private email to transport convener Lesley Macinnes, Mr Dornan claimed this was “never at any stage meant to imply that Lothian Buses or their staff were by this action anti-Irish or anti-Catholic”.

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After the passing of a motion I brought to Edinburgh Council, council leader Adam McVey had to write to Mr Dornan to request a direct apology to Lothian Buses, but it appears Mr Dornan might be having second thoughts.

He emailed company chair Jim McFarlane, but all he could bring himself to say was “I regret the misunderstanding” and instead accused Lothian Buses of not giving enough thought to a big day for Irish people.

“The point I was intending to make,” he wrote, “was the lack of attention to a significant cultural day for Irish, which would not have been the case for other culturally significant days. This is in no way only the case at Lothian Buses.”

Keep digging, Mr Dornan. Keep digging.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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