DUP hits back at Sinn Fein ‘hypocrisy’

Cllr Ryan Murphy
Cllr Ryan Murphy

Sinn Fein has been accused of “staggering hypocrisy” after one of its councillors criticised the DUP for allowing a man convicted of drugs offences to be part of its council election campaign.

Councillor Ryan Murphy criticised the DUP after Mark Officer, who was jailed in 2015 over a cocaine haul worth nearly £1m, was seen canvassing in north Belfast.

“Drug dealers bring nothing but misery and destruction to our communities but incredibly the DUP has defended Mr Officer’s involvement in the election campaign,” he said.

“That smacks of arrogance from a party that seems to think it should be answerable to no-one.”

But hitting back, a DUP spokesperson insisted Mr Officer has expressed remorse for his crime, “wishes to move forward and play a positive role in the community” and has been “assisting DUP candidates on a voluntary basis.”

He said: “Sinn Fein’s hypocrisy is staggering. At a previous election Sinn Fein were happy to have the Shankill bomber Sean Kelly canvassing for them. Indeed Sinn Fein continue to honour and praise terrorist murderers.

“Are they now prepared to condemn the crimes carried out by people associated with their party and express remorse for their actions?”

In February last year the DUP was criticised after Mr Officer was pictured at a meeting of the party’s North Belfast branch, which was attended by councillors, MLAs and party leader Arlene Foster.

However the party defended his attendance, saying he has served his jail term and now wants to “make a positive contribution to society”.