Belfast Telegraph

SDLP MLA takes aim at Sinn Fein over Mallon criticism - 'He never put anyone in their grave'

By Gareth Cross

SDLP MLA Claire Hanna has taken aim at Sinn Fein after former Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon was criticised on Twitter.

Mr Mallon attracted criticism for comments he made at an event celebrating 20 years of the Good Friday Agreement on Tuesday.

At the event, held at Queen's University, Mr Mallon said he was "sad and angry" at what had become of Northern Irish politics.

On Twitter Sinn Fein South Down MLA Sinead Ennis criticised his comments.

"Has Seamus Mallon every been anything but an angry man?" she wrote.

"Angry when he verbally attacked me as a 16-year-old election worker, angry at John Hume for doing the right thing.

"Angry that he stepped aside rather than take on Conor Murphy in Newry and Armagh.

"Angry that electorate rejected SDLP, angry, angry, angry!"

In response South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna pointed out that Mr Mallon had retired from politics to care for his ill wife.

"Never so angry he put anyone in their grave thankfully" she replied to Ms Ennis.

"Seamus took on and defeated Conor Murphy and then retired at 65 to be a carer for his wife."

Speaking at Queens Mr Mallon lamented the state of politics in Northern Ireland.

“Am I sad? Yes. Am I angry? Yes, very angry," Mr Mallon said.

“Especially when I watch television sitting in my house, just me and the dog, and I watch the hypocrisies which are unbelievable and the untruths which are believable.

“Politics has been debased and diminished by these two political silos which have almost Balkanised the Northern Ireland that I live in.

“It is the future we should be looking at.”

In the 2001 Newry and Armagh election for the House of Commons Mr Mallon defeated Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy by a vote of 20,784 to 17,209.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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