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Still haunted by mistakes of the past

Some time ago, I was visited by a constituent who had lost his agency-based job as a cleaner at Belfast City Airport due to him having committed an offence 40 years earlier when he was 17.

The offence consisted of the armed robbery of the Chinese takeaway where he worked following a dispute with his employer.

The weapon involved was a water pistol and the net proceeds were a Chinese cookery book written in Chinese.

He subsequently joined the regular Army and was seriously traumatised by his experiences during the events of Bloody Friday (July 21, 1972). He passed away a few months ago, unemployed and benefits-dependent - the mistakes of his past life haunting and disadvantaging him to the grave.

I can only imagine what he would he have thought of the recent appointment of Mary McArdle by Sinn Fein as a ministerial advisor and, more importantly, of the political regime that made it possible.

MICHAEL COPELAND (UUP)

MLA for East Belfast

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