Northern Ireland

Businessman and former British soldier rebuts criticism of hill walking group friendship with senior republicans

Glenn Bradley with `Spike' Murray and another friend
Glenn Bradley with `Spike' Murray and another friend

A PROMINENT businessman and former British soldier has reacted derisively to criticism of his "eclectic eccentric hill walking group" with former IRA members.

Glenn Bradley who was born in Woodvale, close to the west Belfast peaceline, joined the British Army as a 16-year-old and later went on to become a UUP party officer and now owns an internationally-operating business.

He also has involvement with the Northern Ireland Business and Human Rights Forum and the Community Foundation NI.

Last Sunday he posted a picture of himself on a blustery hillside with companions including former Sinn Féin publicity director Danny Morrison and senior republican Sean `Spike' Murray, writing: "The eclectic eccentric hill walking group - Westies, Easties, Culchies & In-Betweenies get drown on Divis."

The 'eclectic eccentric hill walking group'
The 'eclectic eccentric hill walking group'

Following criticism on social media which he said claimed he is a "United Irelander" and a "Lundy", Mr Bradley posted a lengthy rebuttal on Twitter.

He said his uncle, "my Godfather, my Mentor and my greatest friend who I miss dearly" was former UVF spokesman and PUP leader Hughie Smyth and another uncle Louis Robinson "who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the PIRA".

"Louis also taught me how to fish and ride a motorcycle."

He added: "For clarity Danny Morrison is a friend. Sean Murray is a friend and former neighbour. We do things friends and neighbours do, mad bloody things like hill walking in a storm with other friends."

Mr Bradley said among the group are also "former RUC, former soldiers, former media gurus, former journalists, regular spides etc",

"It's a fact that there are friends and there is family and there are friends who become like family, true friends who embrace their humanity and come as one in a spirit respectful of our positive and constructive hopes for this small wee place we share as out homeland."

Describing himself as a "positive peace processor since my involvement in the talks of '97", he said his work with Mr Morrison and Mr Murray is "a matter of public record".

Mr Bradley went on to say he votes for PUP councillor John Kyle, UUP assembly member Andy Allen and Alliance leader Naomi Long for Westminster.

"In summary: good friends are like stars, you don't see them often but you know they are always there and I'm comfortable with those who choose me as their friend and I them. I relish the hill walks over Divis on a bloody awful weather element day," he said.