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Dad of DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly denies he was gunrunner for loyalist terror gangs

Noel Little
Noel Little
Emma Little Pengelly MP

By Gillian Halliday

The father of DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly has denied sourcing weapons abroad which ended up in the hands of UVF and UDA murder gangs.

Noel Little said BBC Spotlight claims that he had been a gunrunner for the Ulster Resistance were "not true", saying: "I was not an arms buyer."

He claimed he had been hounded by allegations that he had procured the weapons used in dozens of loyalist murders.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the programme aired, the former Ulster Resistance leader said the BBC claims had been tough on himself and his family, including his daughter Emma, the South Belfast MP. "It's hard on Emma... it's harder on Emma. Emma has made my position very clear to the BBC," he told Sunday Life.

"It makes me feel terrible. I'm not a supporter of violence of any kind."

In 1989 Little, who is originally from Markethill, Co Armagh, was arrested in Paris with two other men from here, a South African diplomat and an American arms dealer, who met in a hotel in the city.

A French court later heard the loyalists were trying to buy arms from South Africa in return for missile technology from Northern Ireland.

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Emma Little Pengelly MP

Prosecutors said Little was the main instigator of the terror plot, an offence he was convicted for and given a two-year suspended sentence.

In the fifth episode of Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History, broadcast earlier this month, Little was accused of being in Geneva and Paris in 1987 with $120,000 and a shopping list of arms "to defend loyalists against the IRA".

But Little denounced the Spotlight claims about his alleged gunrunner role, saying its "narrative is incorrect".

"I was not an arms buyer. I have no information about it, except to say it's hounded me for some time," he said.

Asked about his 1989 conviction in France, he said: "It has nothing to do with arms procurement."

Addressing the Spotlight programme, which acknowledged Little had not been convicted of arms procurement, he said: "It was just a rehash of an old story. As far as I was concerned, there was no truth in it."

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