Northern Ireland news

DUP man silent over GAA family apology

DUP councillor Clement Cuthbertson
Connla Young

A DUP councillor has not responded to calls for an apology after he accused the GAA of continuing "to idolise convicted terrorists".

Unionists were forced into an embarrassing U-turn this week after claiming an underage GAA tournament in Co Tyrone was named after an IRA hunger striker.

Mid Ulster UUP councillor Mark Glasgow last night apologised after he issued a statement criticising the tournament.

The Francie Hughes Memorial Tournament, which is for children aged under seven and a half, is due to take place in Coalisland later this month.

Mr Hughes, who died in 1990, was a highly regarded former chairman of Coalisland Na Fianna GAA club.

He shares a name with 1981 hunger striker Francis Hughes, who was from Bellaghy in Co Derry.

DUP councillor Clement Cuthbertson posted on Facebook about the upcoming tournament, which will involve clubs from Tyrone and Armagh.

"Disappointing, but unfortunately no longer surprising, that the GAA continues to idolise convicted terrorists," he wrote.

"This would be unacceptable in any other part of the world.

"I would ask parents to think twice before allowing your children to support such events."

Mr Cuthbertson added it was "disappointing to see a local business sponsoring it" and suggested that by their silence that Ulster GAA and elected representatives "are in support of this blatant glorification of terrorism".

He later removed the post.

The DUP man has faced calls to apologise.

When pressed on whether he would apologise he later said, "we'll need to see what happens first".

An attempt was made to contact Mr Cuthbertson yesterday.

In a statement, UUP councillor Mark Glasgow said he condemned "this hurtful act of naming a sporting event after a convicted IRA terrorist".

The UUP later recalled the statement claiming it was "issued in error".

Mr Glasgow offered an apology last night.

“I sincerely apologise to the Hughes family for any hurt that was caused," he said.

"As soon as I was made aware that the information I had received was wrong, the statement was withdrawn.

"I offer my best wishes to those taking part in the tournament."

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