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Tuesday 21 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
James Crombie/Inpho File photo of Joe Brolly.
# local outrage
Joe Brolly apologises to Kolkata after Monaghan Council demands apology for Clones comparison
Monaghan County Council demanded a written apology after the GAA analyst compared Clones to Kolkata.

GAA ANALYST JOE Brolly has apologised to the people of Kolkata after Monaghan County Council demanded he apologise for comparing the town of Clones to the Indian city in an article about the Ulster gaelic football final.

In a piece published in the Sunday Independent on 5 June, the former Derry footballer referenced a young boy charging for parking outside his house, squeezing multiple cars into the front lawn with “no gaps between them” and no lane for exiting after the match.

“Welcome to Calcutta, Ireland,” Brolly wrote. The article also referred to the journey home after the game saying: “Six or so miles outside Calcutta, driving at an average speed of 4mph…”

The article prompted Monaghan County Council to pass a motion calling on Brolly and the Sunday Independent to apologise for the “critical and disrespectful” comparison.

After passing the motion on Monday the council will be writing to the newspaper and its columnist to express its “deep disappointment”.

Speaking to The Journal today, Brolly said he would like to issue an apology to the people of Kolkata (the official way of spelling the city’s name) for comparing their city to the Monaghan town.

“Upon reflection, I would like to extend my apologies to the people of Calcutta. In no way did I intend to demean them by comparing them to Clones,” Brolly said.

The outspoken pundit said he was stuck in traffic in Clones for three hours after Derry’s win.

“Every single person charges you to park in their lawns, driveways, fields. Then you’re just jammed-in, you can’t get out after the game. There’s nowhere else to go,” he said.

Speaking in a jovial manner, Brolly added: “The sooner Casement Park’s built the better.”

The redevelopment of the stadium in Belfast was given the green light in recent weeks after a legal challenge was rejected.

Brolly previously referred to Clones as the “Bangladesh of Ulster” and a “capital of gombeenism” in an article in 2019.

Monaghan County Council’s motion was brought forward by Councillor Richard Truell who said comparing Clones to Kolkata, which contains one of India’s poorest slums, is completely wrong.

The Fine Gael councillor said it was a “bit rich” that Brolly apologised to the people of Kolkata, saying “He may as well keep his apology then.”

“[Being] compared to Calcutta, that’s what the motion is about, that’s what I’m angry about and that’s what the people of Clones are angry about. It’s insulting to the people of county Monaghan,” Truell said.

Despite this, the local politician added that an invitation, contained in the council’s letter to Brolly, to visit Clones and get a tour of the town remains open.

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