The DUP yesterday challenged SDLP MLA Alex Attwood to explain his party’s support for naming a Newry playground after IRA man Raymond McCreesh, and for campaigning for the release of two high-profile republicans.
North Belfast DUP councillor William Humphries told Mr Attwood yesterday that it was “appalling” that he was allegedly “trying to score points” against the DUP regarding loyalist protests in north Belfast.
He welcomed Mr Attwood’s condemnation of plans for a commemoration for Shankill bomber Thomas Begley, but said the SDLP had campaigned recently to get republicans Marian Price and Gerry McGeough out of prison.
Mr Attwood responded that SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell stood up in the Assembly chamber recently and “acknowledged the fallout and hurt that had been caused by a decision that made sense locally to our councillors in Newry, but was on the wrong side of the ethics of the party”.
Mr Humphries responded, on the Nolan Show, that “we heard words from Alex Attwood – we still didn’t hear an apology – we didn’t hear an apology from Alasdair McDonnell last week” for the Newry playground name.
The DUP councillor said the families of Mr McCreesh’s victims are also victims.
Mr Attwood said the party called for the release of Marian Price “for a whole lot of reasons” including her health condition.
He said the state eventually agreed and released her.
“I think that shows the right level of compassion without in any way supporting the previous activities of that individual,” he said.
“I think that is the right way to go and indeed if there was somebody in loyalism who was returned to prison because of a breach of a licence, some alleged activity, then I would be calling for that person’s release as well.”