Belfast Telegraph

UUP fail to force an apology over bomb comments

By Cate McCurry

UUP councillors have failed in their bid to call for a Sinn Fein council chairman to retract controversial comments he made about the Enniskillen bombing.

Stephen McCann last night faced renewed pressure from Fermanagh and Omagh unionists councillors after he refused to condemn the IRA bomb.

In an interview with the Impartial Reporter in July Mr McCann said that he would not "go down the road of condemning" the Enniskillen bombing, the 30th anniversary of which will be marked in November.

In the interview he also praised former IRA volunteer Seamus McElwaine, saying that he had "set the tone for a peaceful resolution to where we are going".

It's understood his remarks have been reported to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards.

At last night's meeting, Ulster Unionist councillor Harold Thornton put forward a proposal to "reject the comments" that were made by the Fermanagh councillor.

He urged Mr McCann to "publicly and unreservedly apologise".

The motion, however did not pass after 17 councillors voted against while 12 voted in favour.

Mr Thornton said he was left disappointed by the outcome.

"We have to accept the democratic process but I questioned whether the chairman, who was the subject of the motion, should actually chair and vote because of an obvious conflict of interest, but I was informed that he could," he said.

"I am totally disappointed by the decision as the victims of the bomb were ordinary decent people who had no involvement in anything and they were slaughtered and their families have no justice and face an investigation shut down.

"The relatives are about to erect a memorial coming up to the 30th anniversary.

"Then the chairman comes out with these offensive remarks."

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