A SENIOR councillor who has come under heavy criticism for linking a public meeting with the extermination of Roma gypsies during the Holocaust is yet to apologise.
Cllr Sara Burch (Cantref. Abergavenny) sits on Monmouthshire County Council as the Labour cabinet member for inclusion and active communities.
But her Conservative opponents say she made 'a deeply offensive social media post', accusing Monmouth Tory MP David Davies and Magor West councillor Frances Taylor, leader of the council’s independent group, of “whipping up anti-traveller feeling”
Her now deleted comments on X, formerly known as Twitter, were made earlier this month following a public meeting at Magor Baptist Church chaired by Cllr Taylor and attended by Secretary of State for Wales Mr Davies.
Around 200 residents turned up for the meeting on August 2 to discuss the council’s ongoing consideration of potential traveller sites at Langley Close near to the M4 in Magor and land west of Dancing Hill in Undy.
Conservative group leader Cllr Richard John from Mitchel Troy and Cllr Lisa Dymock from Portskewett were also present.
Cllr Burch, who did not attend the meeting, shared a tweet from Travelling Ahead Cymru which marked August 2 as the anniversary of the murder of thousands of Roma and Sinti people held at the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp.
Adding her own comments, Cllr Burch said: “Shameful that on this day @Frances4Magor and @DavidTCDavies were out whipping up anti-traveller feeling in #magorwithundy in advance of consultation about future sites.”
While Cllr Burch has since said she regrets the post, neither Mr Davies nor Cllr Taylor have received an apology.
Mr Davies himself was criticised earlier this month by campaigners for publishing a constituency leaflet about gypsy sites, which they branded "discriminatory" and "racist".
The leaflet, which was reported to police at the time, asked: "Would you like to see a traveller site next to your house? Y/N."
Gwent Police later said after investigating the flyer they would be taking no further action.
And Mr Davies has now written to Cllr Burch stating he believes her words were “malicious and defamatory” to the people of Magor who expressed “reasonable concerns” about what the council is planning in the community.
In his letter, Mr Davies said: “The now deleted post was completely outrageous. As chair of the meeting, Cllr Taylor went out of her way to make it clear there was not to be any hint of prejudice.
"Indeed, over 200 local people attended to express legitimate concerns in a respectful manner. Cllr Richard John spoke about how he had campaigned to get potential traveller sites removed from Mitchel Troy.
"I did not speak at all and purposely chose not to say a word. I wanted to hear what residents had to say and I was quite surprised that none of the Welsh Labour council group saw fit to come along and listen, including yourself.
"I would like to suggest that given your statement was published on a public platform, it is malicious and defamatory to the people of Magor who expressed reasonable concerns about what the Labour-led Monmouthshire County Council is planning.
"I call upon you to make another social media statement on X acknowledging there was no prejudice and that contrary to what you said, none of the elected representatives present acted with anything other than integrity and sensitivity.
"If you are prepared to apologise, I would be happy not to take the matter any further.”
Formal complaints have been made to Monmouthshire County Council about Cllr Burch’s conduct and the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has been asked to investigate.
Monmouthshire Council proposed new gypsy pitches at Mitchel Troy, Monmouth (Manson Lane) and Undy a month ago pending further consultation, but have since ruled they are unsuitable.