A unionist MLA has challenged a Sinn Fein figure who referred to Northern Ireland’s police force as “the RUC/PSNI”.
East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs questioned the comments made late on Thursday night by Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan, noting that Sinn Fein violently opposed the RUC.
He had written on the website Twitter: “RUC/PSNI should deal in facts not speculation”. It is believed the comments were made in relation to news surrounding the murder of Kevin McGuigan.
In a statement Mr Beggs said: “Mr McMullan needs to tell us what he means by his statement.
“Firstly, why is he using the phrase RUC/PSNI?
“This is explicitly linking the PSNI with the RUC. Sinn Fein were meant to have signed up to policing and support for the PSNI.
“They did not support the RUC, and of course the Provisional IRA – to whom Sinn Fein were inextricably linked – killed 277 RUC officers in a murderous 30 year terrorist campaign.
“Mr McMullan needs to explain today exactly what he means when he deliberately joins the two names together.
“He should also spell out what part of the police statement on the McGuigan murder he considers not to be factual.
“We will wait Mr McMullan’s further statements with interest.”
Amid days of news reports about the McGuigan, Mr McMullan had also written on Thursday night “Silly season not over yet”.
His comments sparked a backlash on Twitter with some branding the remarks “embarrassing”.
One fellow Twitter user asked: “If you consider PSNI an extension of RUC then why does your party talk about a ‘new beginning’”.
Yesterday, Mr McMullan removed his comments from Twitter around midday with no explanation. Despite several attempts to contact him yesterday, he was unavailable for comment through his constituency office or Sinn Fein headquarters.
Following the removal of the Tweet, Mr Beggs added: “Unsurprisingly this Tweet has now been deleted but not before it was shared by a fellow Sinn Fein MLA, this suggests that Mr McMullan has had second thoughts about his ‘unhelpful’ comments.”