No matter her reason or excuse, there is no justification for the behaviour of the DUP councillor Ruth Patterson.
Patterson was elected Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast last night and was offered congratulations by the newly elected Lord Mayor, Niall Ó Donnghaile of Sinn Fein. Patterson ignored the Lord Mayor refusing to acknowledge his gracious gesture.
The basis of this insult (for that is what it is) appears to be that Niall is from Sinn Fein. Patterson has form for being disrespectful - in the past she has made a show of coughing loudly when Irish is spoken in the chamber.
The DUP have, inexplicably, decided to defend her. It's inexplicable because her party are fully in bed with Sinn Fein in govt. What they should be doing is reprimanding her for displaying such appalling behaviour.
I imagine this is no skin of the new Lord Mayor's nose but then it wasn't just he who was insulted. Patterson has shown massive disrespect to the people of Belfast who elected Niall to council and to the chamber itself who have chosen to elevate him to the Lord Mayor position.
Democracy means not always getting the result you want but it also means you have to respect the result regardless, for it is the will of the people.
The DUP have moaned about there being a change of rules in the chamber designed to deny them and their Unionist pact partners from getting the Mayoral posts they feel they're entitled to. To some extent this is true but quite how they feel they can moan about it is beyond me. The DUP have no problem using whatever means they can to maintain or gain advantage - the petition of concern to defeat Dawn Purvis' double jobbing bill a prime example of this.
What is really embarrassing for Northern Ireland though is that we still have people in senior political positions who refuse to acknowledge the validity of other peoples political beliefs.