Belfast Telegraph

Unionists slam ex-mayor O Muilleoir over rival father jibe

By Staff Reporter

Sinn Fein's Mairtin O Muilleoir has been slammed by unionists after interrogating his DUP rival for the South Belfast Westminster seat Emma Little Pengelly over her father's past.

Ms Little Pengelly's father Noel was convicted in Paris more than 20 years ago for his part in an Ulster Resistance gunrunning plot.

The exchange came during an episode of BBC Northern Ireland's political programme The View.

During a focus on the hotly contested constituency Mr O Muilleoir was asked by Ms Little Pengelly whether he would condemn the Provisional IRA's 1996 bombing of Manchester. In response he asked her to condemn the actions of her father. He went on to ask the DUP woman whether her party colleague, the South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford, condemned the murder of Colin Horner in Bangor last week.

It provoked rows on Twitter, with PUP councillor John Kyle among several questioning Mr O Muilleoir's approach.

Dr Kyle tweeted: "@newbelfast bringing up Emma Pengelly's father is completely out of order. So much for 'respect for all' @bbctheview."

Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph Mr Stalford clarified that he condemns "every single murder carried out by every single paramilitary group in Northern Ireland since the beginning of the Troubles", adding: "I do so unreservedly and without any hesitation."

However others on social media queried the endorsement of Ms Little Pengelly which was carried in the latest issue of The Loyalist magazine.

Mr O Muilleoir has not commented directly on his heated debate with Ms Little Pengelly on The View, other than to post on Twitter that he had enjoyed taking part in the broadcast which was filmed at St George's Market, adding "it got very hot in the kitchen".

Candidates from the six largest parties in the constituency took part in the debate on The View, including the SDLP, Alliance, UUP and the Green Party.

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