Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein slammed over rejection of terror motion

By Helen McDowell

Sinn Fein has been slammed for its refusal to back a call to reject terrorism and the support of paramilitary organisations.

The DUP motion was agreed by Belfast City Council on Monday evening (4th) by 23 votes to 16.

Proposer, DUP Councillor Brian Kingston hit out afterwards. He said: "Through this motion the council has confirmed its rejection of terrorism and opposition to the promotion of proscribed paramilitary organisations. It is hugely disappointing that Sinn Fein members could not bring themselves to support those principles."

The row comes on the heels of the unveiling at the weekend of a mural commemorating IRA gunman Martin Meehan.

East Belfast MLA Robin Newton revealed his personal experience of the IRA man's violence and condemned the erection of this mural as "an attempt to glorify his evil deeds".

Councillor Newton was working in Beltex, a textile manufacturers in Flax Street in the 1970s when Meehan and his gang struck.

He was in the wages office when Meehan and his men broke in and held a gun to a woman's head.

"The woman was very frightened and they threatened her but in the end they only left with the petty cash," he said.

"There are many in the community who suffered at his hands and many who still bear the scars of his active terrorist campaign."

Ulster Unionist councillor Mark Cosgrove said: "Following the disgusting plaque erected recently to remember and glorify the Shankill Bomber Thomas Begley, we now have another Provo who brought death and destruction depicted on a mural firing a weapon in full paramilitary garb. I look forward to the leadership of the Republican community coming out to publicly condemn this affront to decency."

Alliance Councillor John Blair said: "Alliance is against any murals or banners that demarcate territory and glorify violence of any kind. They have no place in a safe and shared community."

At Monday evening's city hall debate Brian Kingston called for greater sensitivity in remembering the past. "There have been actions over the past month that were crass, insensitive and plain wrong. We have heard the excuse offered that 'what we do within our own community is nobody else's business' even if that includes eulogising those involved in terrorism. That is not a sustainable argument and will not stand the test of time.

"Those elected to this and other democratic chambers have a responsibility to stand for democracy and against the use of violence and terrorism."

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