Asda chiefs make their peace with family of murdered Catholic brothers
Asda bosses have spoken to the family of two Catholic brothers who were murdered during the Troubles by one of their staff.
The supermarket chiefs flew to Belfast yesterday to explain to the family of Thomas and John McErlane why William Hunter (54) was allowed back to work after being sacked for making comments about The Sash.
A four-day protest was held outside the Shore Road store in north Belfast after Mr Hunter had been dismissed.
After an appeal on Monday, Asda said he had “expressed regret for the unintentional offence he caused” and was re-employed.
Supporters of Mr Hunter described him as being “salt of the earth”, but it later emerged that he shot the brothers in the head while they played cards in a Mount Vernon flat in May 1975.
Gerard McErlane said he was angered by the store's decision.
Speaking on television, he said: “I'm just wondering, now as they've heard that he is a convicted murderer, what do these people think of him?”
Asda’s operations director Mark Ibbottson and Rick Bendal from US parent company Walmart met the McErlanes in a west Belfast hotel.
The meeting lasted around four hours and both parties said the dispute had been resolved.
It is unclear what decisions had been made, but Asda and the family released prepared statements.
“We are all very pleased with the outcome of the meeting and for their understanding and sympathetic attitude to us all,” said Mr McErlane.
“We hope this episode in our life is now over.”