There has been widespread anger at the unveiling of a mural type banner in north Belfast featuring a senior IRA man wielding a rifle.
The gable wall artwork was unveiled at Ardoyne on Sunday with members of the Meehan family in attendance.
It shows Meehan – who served a total of 18 years in jails on both sides of the Irish border for terrorist-related offences – wearing paramilitary-style clothing and pointing a rifle. Meehan, who became a Sinn Fein politician, died suddenly of a heart condition in 2007 at the age of 62.
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said: “This latest terrorist celebration of a republican terrorist in Ardoyne appears to be another example of the struggle between dissident republicans and Sinn Fein to position themselves as the voice of the area.”
He added: “Sinn Fein regularly refer to dissidents as ‘micro-groups’ yet they constantly appear to be looking over their shoulder in a competition to celebrate the terrorism which blighted our community for so long.”
Ulster Unionist councillor Mark Cosgrove drew comparisons with the recent row over a loyalist mural.
“People from right across the political spectrum and the wider community in east Belfast recently voiced their strong disapproval of a UVF mural that was painted over one depicting one of our favourite sporting sons, George Best,” he said. “I look forward to the leadership of the republican community coming out to publicly condemn this affront to decency.”
North Belfast DUP MLA Nelson McCausland said the mural was “abhorrent and regressive” and was the work of people “who would seek to drag society backwards into bloodshed and violence”.
He added: “Martin Meehan is widely believed to have been one of the IRA gunmen responsible for the callous murder of the three young Scottish soldiers lured to their deaths at Ligoniel in 1971, along with many other acts of IRA terrorism. He is not someone who should be held up as a role model for future generations.”
Alliance North Belfast spokesperson councillor John Blair urged that the banner be taken down.
“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,” he said.