Northern Ireland news

Ian Paisley and Jim Allister 'silent' on tributes to David Tweed

Jim Allister and Ian Paisley

PROMINENT unionist politicians who paid tribute to David Tweed after his death last month have declined to distance themselves from the man whose daughters have branded a paedophile.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and TUV leader Jim Allister were among those who spoke highly of the former Ireland rugby international, who once served as a DUP and TUV councillor in Ballymena.

Tweed, who in 2012 was sentenced to eight years for child sex abuse, died in a motorbike accident in Co Antrim on October 29.

His convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in October 2016.

However, since the former Orangeman's death, his daughters have spoke out publicly about the years of sexual abuse they endured at his hands.

Mr Paisley said he was "shocked and saddened" to learn of his former party colleague's death.

"To his family I send my condolences and heartfelt prayers at what must be an unimaginably heartbreaking time for them," he said.

Mr Allister said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Mr Tweed's death.

"Sincere sympathy to his grieving family and wide circle of friends," he said.

The Irish News contacted both men yesterday to see if they wished to revise their opinion, in light of what the deceased's daughters had said.

Mr Paisley did not respond, while a TUV spokesman said the party had "nothing to add" to Mr Allister's statement.

Mr Tweed's daughters, ranging in age from 22 to 41, told the Sunday World they wanted to speak out as many people believed their father was a pillar of the community.

Three of them, Amanda, Catherine and Vicky, met with a reporter from the paper to produce a Crime World podcast about their father they described as a "predatory paedophile and violent thug".

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