Belfast Telegraph

Police probe 'Brit murderers' tweet by Sinn Fein MP after Syria bombing vote

By Noel McAdam

A Sinn Fein MP is being investigated by police over a remark labelling the British Government "murderers".

After MPs voted in support of bombing ISIS targets in Syria in December, Francie Molloy tweeted: "Brits back to what they do best, Murder".

It was an eerie echo of his comment years earlier that, had the peace process failed, the Provisional IRA could go back to what they do best.

Now the Public Prosecution Service has confirmed police are investigating the remarks following a complaint.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said Mr Molloy's comments has caused widespread outrage and had the potential to incite violence.

In a letter sent to PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton and Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory, he said he had been contacted by a large number of constituents angry over the decision of the PPS to prosecute Pastor James McConnell over comments in a sermon.

They were asking why no action had been taken against Mr Molloy in relation to his remark on December 1, the East Antrim MP said.

"First, I would point out the comment was transmitted by electronic means. Second, it labels an entire race, that is, the British. Thirdly, it labels them as murderers.

"Apart from the fact that the comment could be deemed as grossly offensive, there is no doubt in the context in which it was made and the audience who was likely to read it, it had the potential to incite violence.

"In light of the decision of both the PPS and the PSNI to take action against Pastor McConnell for the remark he made that he would not trust Muslims, I would ask what action is being taken against Mr Molloy."

Mr McGrory replied that he had been informed by the PSNI that an officer had been appointed to investigate following a complaint and a file would be considered by the PPS when it was submitted.

But Mr Molloy, who replaced Martin McGuinness as Mid-Ulster MP, said: "I have not heard a word about this. You would think if they were investigating they might have been in touch. But this is the first I have heard about it.

"I suppose it was a bit of a flippant remark, but I do not regret it. As far as I remember it was part of a discussion on Twitter."

Mr Molloy, who at one stage was tipped to replace the DUP's William Hay as Stormont Speaker, admitted the tweet echoed his earlier quote that the IRA could go back "to what they do best", by which he insisted he meant "negotiate".

He posted his 'Brits' comment in response to Martin McGuinness, who voiced strong opposition to air strikes against ISIS in Syria, after David Cameron came under attack for urging his MPs not to vote against the action and line up alongside "a bunch of terrorist sympathisers".

Mr McGuinness tweeted: "The already huge gulf between East and West will tomorrow become even wider. Air strikes a gift to ISIL, Iraq and Libya lessons not being learned."

Mr Molloy responded with the comment: "Brits back to what they do best, Murder."

He added last night: "It all comes back also to this issue over disclosure. It is all very well for (Secretary of State) Theresa Villiers to talk about national security but people have a right to know if things happened as a result of political direction or something a soldier on the ground decided, for example.

"Then there is the issue of a man or family being bombed or shot here and people you don't know being bombed in Syria.

"It was later accepted that what I meant by my comment years ago of the IRA going back to what they do best, that was to 'negotiate'."

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