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Sean McGlinchey bomb victim fury: Man injured in massacre hits out at Sinn Fein councillor's 'proud ex-IRA' boast

By David Young

Published 26/09/2015

Sean McGlinchey
Sean McGlinchey

A survivor of the 1973 car bombing of Coleraine in which six people died has slammed a Sinn Fein politician's declaration of pride in his bloody IRA past.

Sean McGlinchey, a Causeway Coast and Glens councillor and a former mayor of Limavady, this week told a council meeting that he was "a proud ex-IRA man".

He later defended his remarks, but said he regretted he had made them in Coleraine, which he now admits was "insensitive".

Mr McGlinchey, then 18, was given six life sentences for the bombing in which six pensioners were murdered. He served 18 years and was released in 1992.

The row flared during a debate on the refugee crisis in Europe.

Mr McGlinchey told councillors: "I'm proud of the men and women who were in the IRA with me - but that doesn't mean to say I am proud of everything the IRA did."

Last night David Gilmour, who was 10 when he was injured in the bombing, slammed Mr McGlinchey's unrepentant attitude.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I am not surprised by Mr McGlinchey.

"Despite what he said when he was elected mayor of Limavady about reaching out the hand of friendship to unionists and wanting to co-operate, the mask has slipped.

"I want to say that I do not hate Sean McGlinchey. Hatred brought us to where we were in 1973.

"He and I will disagree on virtually everything - but I do not want it thought that I hate Mr McGlinchey."

Mr Gilmour, now a researcher for DUP MLA George Robinson, added: "I think it is a disgrace that he, as an elected representative, comes into a town where he cold-bloodedly slaughtered six pensioners and makes comments like he did this week.

"That has caused a great deal of hurt and offence, not just to people like me who were hurt in the bombing, or who lost relatives, but to the ordinary men and women of the town, who are disgusted.

"His remarks drag all those memories back to the forefront of our minds. You think you have moved on, moved past that event.

"You hope that people are maybe working towards a more peaceful future.

"And then a comment like that just goes to show that Mr McGlinchey obviously doesn't share the outlook for a peaceful Northern Ireland that I do."

Mr McGlinchey - brother of slain INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey - told this newspaper he feared that the political crisis at Stormont was risking a return to the kind of society that had led him to join the IRA.

"I've worked to get people away from paramilitarism. I don't want anyone else to become what I was in the 1970s. I wish there had never been an IRA," he said.

"But if we don't make politics work in the Assembly, we could be going back to the terrible days of the 1970s.

"I don't want that to happen. But what's happening now is taking us back to the type of politics that created the Sean McGlinchey of the 1970s.

"This was a unionist state - and we can't go back to that."

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