SDLP rejects Hume Raytheon claims
The SDLP has rejected claims that Nobel peace laurerate John Hume backed weapons giant Raytheon's plans to seek MoD contracts for its Derry plant several years ago
According to a 2003 memo, the then Foyle MP met with the defence firm's representatives and Invest NI l to discuss the future of the company's Springtown plant.
The Invest NI document - copied to the then DETI Minister Ian Pearson - noted that Mr Hume "was content that the company needed to explore other opportunities in the defence sector".
It further noted: "He (Mr Hume] suggested that, in describing the work in a public arena, reference should be made to government contracts rather than MoD contracts, since the latter can be emotive."
The SDLP has denied that Mr Hume made any such statements, adding that neither the party nor its then leader had agreed to or ever seen the minutes of the meeting.
An SDLP spokesman told the 'Journal' yesterday: "Had this memo been shared with us at the time, we would have challenged it and set its authors in Invest NI straight. The people of Derry know who has the track record in terms of integrity, honesty and public service and they will make their own minds up about whether John Hume and the SDLP can be believed ahead of a government agency with a less than impressive record in our city."
The party also hit out at prominent anti-war campaigner Eamonn McCann who said the document was "very clear".
"It is quite astonishing that Eamonn McCann is asserting that it must, therefore, be Gospel because a government agency has put something 'in black and white' and because a British government minister in that department has supposedly claimed so.
"It is frankly outrageous that he claims John Hume and the SDLP were playing 'both sides' simply because government officials viewed it that way."
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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