Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly's speech in breach of code, claims DUP man

Gerry Kelly
Gerry Kelly

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly is to be reported to the Assembly Commissioner for Standards following his speech to the republican rally in Castlederg during which he praised two would-be IRA bombers saying they "gave their lives so that we could be free".

Mr Kelly was the keynote speaker at yesterday's controversial Tyrone Volunteers Day demonstration.

Addressing the rally, Mr Kelly said: "Without dialogue, whether in Castlederg or Derry or Rasharkin or Belfast we cannot progress. So as republicans we must stand by face to face dialogue as a method of resolution.

"But today, let me say this on the 40th anniversary of the deaths of volunteer Seamus Harvey and volunteer Gerard McGlynn who gave their lives so that we could be free.

"These two young men could have made different choices in life. They could have avoided the risks of imprisonment or death. But they were leaders. They chose to stand up against the oppression in our country. Because of their profound love of Ireland and of their community.

"They were not alone in Tyrone to step forward. There are 60 names on the roll of honour – most of them young men cut down in their prime.

"It is a harsh reality of resistance that we lose some of our best activists during armed conflict and Seamus and Gerard along with their other comrades whom we remember here today, paid with their lives. They are remembered, loved and cherished by their families, friends and comrades and always will be."

DUP MLA Tom Buchanan said he believed Mr Kelly's remarks were in breach of the Assembly's code of conduct.

"MLAs have a duty to promote the rule of law," he said. "The glorification of people who went out to bomb runs contrary to the code of conduct."

In June, TUV leader Jim Allister reported Mr Kelly to the same watchdog after the Sinn Fein man's altercation with police following the Tour of the North parade in Belfast. Mr Kelly was carried along Carrick Hill on the front of a police Land Rover as he confronted officers.

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