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Tuesday, 21 November, 2000, 13:44 GMT
Death threats over Big Brother visit
The goings-on in the Big Brother house were addictive viewing
The goings-on in the Big Brother house were addictive viewing
Loyalists have issued death threats over the planned appearance of a Big Brother star at ceremonies to switch on Christmas lights in Northern Ireland.

The mayor of Craigavon, County Armagh, says he has been told he will be killed if visits by Tom McDermott go ahead on Friday night.

Tom, who became dubbed Tyrone Tom, during the summer's blockbuster television series, had been invited to lighting up ceremonies in Portadown and nearby Lurgan.

It is thought the threats relate to Gaelic football shirts worn by the Greencastle man on the show as well as "language" he used.

Ulster Unionist councillor Fred Crowe said a threatening letter had been delivered to his office over the council's decision to hire the high-profile personality.
Tom McDermott: Due to appear in County Armagh
Tom McDermott: Due to appear in County Armagh

"The mayor's secretary had received a letter, and in quite big print, calling on me to call off the whole situation or what would happen to me," he told BBC Radio Ulster on Tuesday.

"They simply said that if I didn't cancel this visit of Tom, that they would cancel me."

However, he said that the local council had unanimously decided "not to bow to threats" during a meeting on Monday night and that the invitation would not be withdrawn.

"I have the interests of this borough at stake. I am trying to help the community and do the best I possibly can for them." he said. "I don't want to cause any offence to anyone.

"But what harm can there be in a man like this coming, spending a few minutes switching on lights in Lurgan and Portadown?"

Fred Crowe: Not deterred by loyalist threats
Fred Crowe: Not deterred by loyalist threats

The letter has now been handed to the police who are investigating the matter.

Mr Crowe also said that last week a women had phoned the council offices, and also himself and his wife, in what was a "planned" attempt to thwart the visits.

"They were simply telling me that no way were they going to stand for this man coming," he said.

But he added: "Coming up to Christmas, surely to goodness we can try to change our way of working and let's have a good time at this time of the year. "

He said that Tom's agent had been made aware of the threats and had recommended that the visits should go ahead.

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See also:

18 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother stars face the future
04 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Hero's welcome for Big Brother Tom
13 Nov 00 | Entertainment
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12 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Mel's Big Brother anger
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother's perfect moment
16 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Big Brother: Up close and personal
01 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Irish Big Brother on the way
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