The UUP has slammed Sinn Fein for refusing to broaden a council motion about investigations into loyalist murders to include “all” murders during the Troubles.
Sinn Fein put down a motion at Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on Tuesday welcoming a report from the Police Ombudsman for its continued investigation of what Sinn Fein said was the “failure” of the RUC and the PSNI to bring to justice the killers of nationalist councillor Patsy Kelly near Trillick in 1974.
The Sinn Fein motion alleged links between the murder, the Glenanne gang and members of the security forces, saying the gang was “responsible for the murders of many innocent Catholics throughout the North”.
The UUP then brought forward an amendment to the motion, proposing that the council also welcomes continued investigations into “all killings” – and noting that during the Troubles “90% of all deaths were caused by terrorists, 60% by republican terrorists and 30% by loyalist terrorists”.
However the UUP said the amendment was rejected by council chairman Stephen McCann of Sinn Fein, who made headlines upon taking his office recently by refusing to condemn the Enniskillen bombing.
UUP councillor Robert Irvine said it was “indeed unusual” for the council chairman to both sign a motion, such as that on the Glennane gang and reject a proposed amendment, asking if this was not a “significant conflict of interest”.
While the UUP were content to support investigations into the murder of Mr Kelly, he said, Sinn Fein and others would not support probes into the murder of security force members.
“This further demonstrates the attempts of SF to re-write history.... it appears that SF want a one-sided investigation process that does not focus on murders by republicans.”
However Sinn Fein responded that it rejected the UUP amendment because it was “a completely different motion altogether”. It had been an attempt to change “the whole context of the original motion which was focused on the activities of the murderous Glenanne Gang”. Sinn Fein said it included UDR soldiers, RUC officers, members of the UVF and “claimed the lives of over 120 people”.