Sinn Fein councillor stands by ‘proud ex-IRA man’ remarks

Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey.
Sinn Fein Colr. Sean McGlinchey.

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey is standing by his remarks about his IRA past which he made during a heated row at a council meeting on Tuesday.

Colr. McGlinchey said “I’m an ex-IRA man. I’m proud of it” during a heated exchange at the monthly meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Council in Coleraine.

Councillors were discussing SDLP and Sinn Fein motions about how the Council should respond to the refugee crisis.

SDLP Colr. Stephanie Quigley said local groups had worked hard to respond to the crisis, and she proposed the area should “now take up the challenge” and “welcome families to our area”. She said by doing so it would give refugees a “new start” and would, “in fact, be saving lives”.

Colr. McGlinchey asked members for support and said it wasn’t about party politics. He said those caught up in the crisis needed shelter, and a place of safety.

Other members spoke on the matter, including DUP Colr. John Finlay. During his contribution Colr. Finlay referred to The Troubles. Colr. Finlay’s remarks appeared to prompt Colr. McGlinchey to make his comments.

As a row erupted, SDLP Colr. Maura Hickey rose from her seat and asked for the meeting to be adjourned, describing what was happening as “intolerable”.

The meeting was adjourned for 10 minutes.

When councillors returned to the chamber, the motion was defeated. However, an amendment by the UUP to support refugees through a local effort and to support international aid agencies was carried.

Colr. Quigley expressed deep disappointment at the debate on the motion and what happened.

Colr. McGlinchey told the ‘Journal’ on Wednesday he stands by his remarks.