“Maze not a subject for humour”

Doug Beattie
Doug Beattie

Ulster Unionist Upper Bann candidate Doug Beattie has lambasted Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly over a ‘tasteless tweet’ about the Maze.

Mr Beattie said: “In one tasteless tweet, Gerry Kelly manages to encapsulate the difficulty Northern Ireland faces in moving forward.

“He (Gerry Kelly) said ‘With St Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I’ll be giving away a free signed copy of my book’.

“When Sinn Fein talk of truth and reconciliation, it is clear they have a major struggle with both concepts. This tweet indicates how far they have to travel regarding reconciliation, and understand the huge legacy of hurt caused by the IRA’s terrorist actions.

“When it comes to the truth, at least Gerry Kelly can admit he was actually in the IRA - which is a step further than Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has ever managed.

“The Maze escape saw one prison officer die of a heart attack and twenty others were injured, two of whom were shot. My thoughts are with the men and women in the Prison Service, who did their duty that day, and tried to prevent criminals from breaking out of jail.

“It is a sad indictment that almost 34 years on, the staff of the Northern Ireland Prison Service still face a deadly threat from violent republicans. Mr Kelly would do well to ponder the fate of David Black and Adrian Ismay the next time he seeks to make light of the Maze escape.”