DUP man prays for Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly 'to die very soon' - party distances itself from councillor's comments
'We continue to pray that very soon you will face the one true Judge just like Marty.'
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 "very soon 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 British 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."
Gerry 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 legal deal to secure his extradition back to the UK from the Netherlands.
Mr Kelly was arrested in Holland three years after his 1983 escape from the Maze paramilitary prison in Northern Ireland.
He was extradited back to Northern Ireland in 1986 and spent three more years in the Maze before his release in 1989.
Taking to Facebook Mr Carson hit out at his comments and appeared to reference the death of the late Martin McGuinness.
Mr McGuinness passed away following a short battle with illness 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.
She continued: "There can be no place for abusive or offensive comments online or anywhere else 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."