Resignation call dismissed

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

Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey has dismissed a call for him to resign.

The Sinn Fein man has also challenged his opponents to meet with him to discuss his past and the way forward for politics.

Colr. McGlinchey was convicted for his role in the 1973 car bomb in Coleraine in which six pensioners were killed and dozens of others injured. He served 18 years and was released in 1992.

At a Causeway Coast and Glens Council meeting last week, during a debate on the refugee crisis in Europe, Sean McGlinchey made remarks about his IRA past, stating “I’m an ex-IRA man. I’m proud of it.”

Colr. McGlinchey, a former mayor of Limavady, subsequently said he regretted making his remarks in Coleraine. He said it was “insensitive” and apologised to the people of Coleraine and to the victims of the bombing.

However, David Gilmour, who was 10 when he was injured in the bombing, has hit out at Colr. McGlinchey for his remarks, and called on him to resign and said he was “unfit to hold office”.

“The damage Colr. McGlinchey has caused to good relations in the council chamber will become apparent, but the distress, hurt and offence he has caused to the good people of Coleraine - especially to survivors and victims’ families - will not be forgotten for a long time,” said Mr Gilmour.

“Let me be clear, Colr. McGlinchey must resign or his party force him to resign, after such a sectarian, hate filled and hate fuelled outburst in an elected chamber.”

However, Colr. McGlinchey told the ‘Journal’ this week he will not be resigning.

“The people of the Benbradagh Ward elected me and I will continue to work for them and do my best to work hard for all of the people of the ward. I can stand over my record in community politics,” said Colr. McGlinchey.

“When I was mayor I met with everybody and went everywhere I was invited.

“I want a future where we can all work together, and I will not get caught up in this type of politics that is taking us back to the past which is what happened in the council chamber last week.

“I am more than willing to sit down with any unionist, or anyone, who wants to discuss the past and the way forward.”

Colr. McGlinchey said he fears the political crisis at Stormont could risking a return to the kind of society that had led him to join the IRA.

“I don’t want anyone to become what I was back in the 1970s. Nobody wants that, but what’s happening now could see a return to the type of politics that created the Sean McGlinchey of the 1970s and nobody wants that,” he said.

“Just because someone has a past doesn’t mean to say you can’t have a future.”