Ian Paisley and Mervyn Storey: It was never our intention to add to any hurt suffered to David Tweed victims
PROMINENT DUP politicians, who paid tribute to David Tweed after his death last month, have said it was never their intention to add to any hurt suffered by the man whose daughters have branded a paedophile.
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey were among those who spoke highly of the former Ireland rugby international, who once served as a DUP and TUV councillor in Ballymena.
A joint statement posted on the DUP website stated: “We expressed our condolences to those who mourned David Tweed’s death in a road traffic accident but we would want nothing in our statements to take away from the subsequent powerful and distressing words of his daughters who have bravely told of the horrific abuse they suffered and the weekend comments of one of his sisters.
"It was never our intention to add to any hurt suffered nor would we ever be dismissive of any victim of abuse. No one could be but devastated by these accounts and we have always sought to support and enable abuse victims to come forward by supporting Women’s Aid and other such fantastic organisations.”
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 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".
After Mr Tweed's death, 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.
TUV leader Jim Allister said at the time that he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Mr Tweed's death.
"Sincere sympathy to his grieving family and wide circle of friends," he said.