Murder conviction 'vindictive' - SF

Published Thursday, 28 November 2013
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Sinn Féin and the DUP have clashed after the republican party branded the murder conviction of Seamus Kearney as "wrong, vindictive, unnecessary and counterproductive".

Murder conviction 'vindictive' - SF
Seamus Kearney was sentenced to life in prison for murder. (© Pacemaker)

Kearney, 54, from Gorteade Road in Swatragh was found guilty of the murder of John Proctor.

The 25-year-old RUC reservist was gunned down by the IRA moments after visiting his newborn son in September 1981.

Kearney was sentenced to life imprisonment, however, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, he will serve two years before being released on licence.

Following the conviction, Sinn Féin MLA for mid-Ulster Ian Milne said: "I know Seamus Kearney well.

"He previously served a long period of imprisonment for IRA activities.

"The decision to pursue Seamus on these historic charges was wrong, vindictive, unnecessary and counterproductive."

He added: "It is ironic at a time when the Haass process is coming to a conclusion in dealing with legacy issues that a republican is being imprisoned on historic changes.

"It seems that the British Government on one hand wants to talk the language of building a new future here but at the same time is sending a message that it is continuing to fight old battles.

"Like the previous case of Gerry McGeough, it is our position that Seamus should be released and allowed to return home to his family."

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson, while welcoming the sentence, hit out at Sinn Féin's reaction.

He said: "The callous and cruel murder of Reserve Constable Proctor by IRA criminals in 1981 was particularly savage given that Mr Proctor was leaving a hospital after visiting his wife and newborn son.

"Those who engaged in this disgusting crime will have known his reason for being at the hospital that day but it did not prevent them from snuffing out his life."

He added: "The reaction of Sinn Féin to the conviction of Kearney reflects a callous disregard for the suffering and pain inflicted by the IRA on Mr Proctor's family.

"It is disgraceful to see elected representatives rushing out press releases demanding the release of this convicted murderer.

"Indeed, the fact that a Sinn Féin MLA couldn't even mention Mr Proctor by name in his press release speaks volumes.

"He was just another RUC man to their mind."

The Lagan Valley MP added: "We have seen this pattern of behaviour before when republicans are held to account for their past.

"In recent times Sinn Fein has sought to re-write history in order to place terrorists on the same moral level as innocent victims like John Proctor.

"They were not, are not and never will be."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
53 Comments
Iain in Belfast wrote (136 days ago):
Funny, in all of shamrock's rambling posts not one word of condemnation for sensless murder. Just more blinkered rubbish from a cyber-bigot.
jackie in belfast wrote (137 days ago):
@shamrock in Belfast i totally agree that anyone who has committed murder should be locked up regardless of whatever uniform they have on.Though don`t tar everyone in the RUC/UDR with the same brush !
shamrock in Belfast wrote (138 days ago):
@ Paul in larne. So those 120+ innocent Catholics in Tyrone and Armagh in the early 1970's murdered by UVF members who were also in the RUC/UDR were. fair game??
shamrock in Belfast wrote (138 days ago):
@ Jackie. Yes he should be jailed for murder. As your presumed hero Maggie Thatcher stated ' murder is murder is murder'. This applies, i presume, to those who murdered while in the defunct RUC/UDR. Paying them of with over generous redundancy packages still does not justify them. They are still MURDERERS!!! They should, if there is any semblance of justice here, be in the adjacent cell. I take it you, like any normal person, would agree with that???
paul in larne wrote (138 days ago):
in the eyes of unionists the security forces were fantastic, accept not everyone thinks they dud wrong, if the IRA had have played by the rules nothing bad would have happen, up the parachute reg.
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