Councillor's Kelly remark 'nothing to do with the DUP'
The DUP has distanced itself from comments made by one of its councillors who said he will "continue to pray" that Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly will "face the one true judge, just like Marty".
Ballymena councillor John Carson made the comments on social media after an appearance by the North Belfast MLA on The View. Last week Mr Kelly said, during a debate with DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson on the BBC programme about the prosecution of former soldiers for Troubles killings, that "there should be equality under the law, there should be no immunity for anybody". He said: "If you believe in the law that's the way you should approach it."
Mr Kelly, who was handed two life sentences after being convicted for his role in the IRA's Old Bailey bombing in 1973, was given a Royal Prerogative of Mercy in the mid-1980s as part of a deal to secure his extradition back to the UK from the Netherlands.
Posting on Facebook, Mr Carson hit out at the comments and appeared to reference the death of the late Martin McGuinness. Mr McGuinness passed away in March.
Mr Carson posted that the comments were "rich" coming from Mr Kelly. He said: "Tell you what Gerry, lead by example give up your letter and face the court, but some of us are wise enough to know that will never happen, so we continue to pray that very soon you will face the one true Judge, just like Marty."
Sinn Fein MLA Caral Ni Chuilin said the DUP should distance itself from the comments "immediately".
She said: "The comments made on social media by DUP councillor John Carson in relation to Gerry Kelly were disgraceful, tasteless and crass.
"There can be no place for abusive or offensive comments and I am calling on the DUP leadership to distance itself from these remarks immediately."
A DUP spokesman said: "The comments by Councillor Carson do not represent the party's view."