ASDA hit back at McCrea in St Patrick’s Day row

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A COOKSTOWN superstore has hit back at criticism from a Unionist MLA over its St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The DUP’s Ian McCrea criticised ASDA in Cookstown after he said he received complaints from shoppers over the store’s “provision of Irish dancers” and the “giving away of green t-shirts” on Saturday, March 17th.

Mr McCrea accused the Sweep Road store of inequality because the same celebrations have not previously been laid on for the Twelfth.

The MLA told the MAIL that he has now written to the supermarket’s manager following complaints from constituents.

“Whilst I have no issue whatsoever with ASDA arranging such entertainment; I will however be very interested to see if they plan to host such events to promote the Unionist tradition during the 12th of July celebrations,” he said.

“We are trying to build a shared society here in Northern Ireland and I feel it is important that ASDA join us in this goal by showing equality and respect to both cultural events and I have written to the Manager of ASDA asking this very question.”

The Assembly member added: “Concerns were also raised with me that some staff members were asking people at the check-outs had they been to the parade. Whilst interaction from the staff at the check-out is both polite and welcomed I feel it is not appropriate to put questions like this which can leave customers feeling uncomfortable.”

In response to Mr McCrea’s statement, a spokesperson for the Cookstown store said they had received no complaints from customers on the issues highlighted by the MLA.

In a statement to the MAIL the superstore said that it aims to “listen and respond” to all members of the community.

“We’re really surprised to hear this from Mr McCrea as no issues were raised by customers at the store,” said the spokesperson.

“We do our very best to listen and respond to the needs of our all customers from across the community”