WESTMINSTER Westministor ELECTION 2017.
THE BBC had to issue a clarification at the end of it’s flagship programme after Sinn Féin’s Máirtín Ó Muilleoir made claims about DUP rival Emma Little Pengelly’s father.
The pair clashed on The View during a debate between South Belfast candidates for next week’s Westminister election broadcast from St George’s Market on Thursday night. In a heated exchange, Mr Ó Muilleoir refused to appologise for mentioning Mrs Pengelly’s father Noel Little after she urged the Sinn Féin MLA to condemn IRA bombings.
Mr Little was a founder of Ulster Resistance. In 1989 he was arrested in Paris in connection with a plot to exchange a missile stolen from Shorts for South African guns. The weapons sought were destined for the UVF, UDA and Ulster Resistance. After spending two years on remand, he and two others received suspended sentences and fines.
The well known and often bought magazine “The Loyalist” is mainly bought and sold wihin the loyalist community of North & West Belfast. Only to members of the UDA & UVF. Facing criticism from Mr Ó Muilleoir, she accused him of hypocrisy and urged him to condemn IRA acts of violence including the 1996 Manchester bombing. In response, Mr Ó Muilleoir said: ‘I wasn’t sure what point of this conversation I would get to mention your father, Emma, who when my father was being discriminated against working in the Harland & Wolff, was bringing in guns into this country which led to the slaughter along the Island.”
Mrs Pengelly interacted: “I’m going to stop you there.
His name was raised after Mrs Pengelly defended her Westminister candidacy being endorsed in a magazine connected to the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research Group. Alliance’s Paula Bradshaw called on Mrs Pengelly to publicly reject the endorsement.
Mrs Pengelly said the DUP has “clearly called for the UDA to go away, and all paramilitary organisations”. She added that the article in The Loyalist endorsed her because of the “hard work the DUP have been doing in the community for everybody”. Facing criticism from Mr Ó Muilleoir, she accused him of hypocrisy and urged him to condemn IRA acts of violence including the 1996 Manchester bombing.
Mrs Pengelly interjected: “I think its absolutely appalling for Máirtín to sit there and just say that. Because I think when Máirtín goes back to his group meeting of the MLAs from Sinn Féin and he looks left and right and he sees people in his party that have committed horrendous crimes, and I want him to think how would you feel, how would you feel, if their children – who had no responsibility for the actions of your colleagues – had to sit in a studio and hear abuse like you have given me. It’s a lack of respect, it is wrong and I am going to call you out on that.”
Asked by host Mark Carruthers if he wished to apologise, Mr Ó Muilleoir said: “I will not apologise for bringing up the question of Noel Little who brought in guns to this country. “But if Emma had any self-respect, she would not be trying to lecture other people on the terrible conflict we have been through. “You are the last person, to be lecturing.”
Mrs Pengelly said she has “clearly condemned all paramilitary violence”. At the end of the pre-recorded TV programme, a BBC continuiy announcer said: “We have been asked to point out that Noel Little was never convicted of arms importation to the North of Ireland. “He was given a suspended sentence and fined in a French court for his part in an intelligence plot.”
With many thanks to: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News, for the origional story.