Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Racist bomber son of DUP mayor wins lucrative contract to run restaurant in golf club owned by council

 

John Smyth Junior
John Smyth Junior
John Smyth Junior
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

A RACIST pipe-bomber has been awarded a lucrative contract to run a restaurant at a golf club owned by a council on which his DUP father serves as mayor.

Sunday Life can reveal that John Smyth Jnr - who was sentenced to eight years for waging a hate campaign against Polish families in Antrim town - is now boss at the Yew Tree Cafe Bistro at Allen Park golf club.

The 38-year-old, who is on supervised licence until next year and therefore still technically a serving prisoner, was awarded the catering franchise by politicians in April after a meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council's Operations Committee.

His father John Smyth Snr (right) - a convicted UVF bomber turned DUP mayor of Antrim - sits on the committee but removed himself from the debate around his son's business after declaring a conflict of interest.

The council later took the decision to grant Smyth Jnr the contract until February 2022 with the option of a two-year extension based on performance.

This was despite him being a well-known racist pipebomber whose conviction made front page headlines and led TV news bulletins. At the time of the attacks, Smyth Jnr was also a DUP member, standing unsuccessfully for the party in the 2011 local government elections.

Staff at his butcher's shop in Antrim town told Sunday Life he is on holiday overseas and is unavailable for comment.

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Antrim and Newtownabbey Deputy Mayor Anne Marie Logue, who sat on the committee that awarded Smyth Jnr the restaurant franchise, said she was "really worried" that the race hate pipe-bomber has entered into partnership with the council.

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John Smyth Junior

"I'm really worried by this, I had no idea about his background, to be honest," explained the Sinn Fein politician.

"When the council awards franchises it looks at the history of the business and if it can take on the capacity of the work involved. I've no idea if background checks on his person were carried out. I will definitely be raising this with the relevant people."

A council spokeswoman said: "The franchisee was appointed in line with the council's procurement procedures."

Smyth Jnr's race hate crimes were exposed in March 2011 when a pipe-bomb exploded in his Antrim flat weeks before he stood for the DUP in the local government elections.

This led to a visit of support from then party leader Peter Robinson who condemned what he thought was a murder bid.

He also went on TV, brazenly lying to the cameras when he said: "If I had been in bed, I would be dead by now, no question. The only things I can think of as to why I was targeted is because I am running for the council for the DUP and because of my stance on drugs. I am very much anti-drugs."

But the truth was Smyth Jnr had caused the blast himself while building a pipe-bomb to hurl at his Polish neighbours.

He was eventually sentenced to eight years, three in prison and five on licence, for leaving a second explosive device outside their home in October 2011.

Caging Smyth Jnr, who admitted to police he liked to "annoy" Poles, Judge Desmond Marrinan accused the bomber of "naked sectarianism" and of involvement in a "despicable and cowardly act".

Although convicted of a single pipe-bomb attack, he was suspected of involvement in at least two others, the most sinister of which occurred in September 2010 when an explosive device was left in the playground of St Comgall's Catholic primary school in Antrim by a group calling itself the 'Real UFF'.

An eight-year-old pupil picked the pipe-bomb up and handed it to a caretaker.

Smyth Jnr was also believed to have been behind a graffiti campaign against the PUP because of the support it offered migrant workers in Antrim.

Slogans were written on walls around the Steeple estate, where he lived, proclaiming 'PUP - Polish Unionist Party'.

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