Bell challenges McGuinness on Derry exile

Alliance Deputy Leader and Victims Spokesperson Eileen Bell has issued a direct challenge to Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness to make a public statement that would allow Derry man Joseph McCloskey to return home without fear of harm from the IRA.

Mrs Bell was speaking after the DPP wrote to Mr McCloskey’s mother to inform her that the only man charged in connection with an alleged paramilitary attack on her son would not be prosecuted.

Mrs Bell, who was herself driven from her home twice by paramilitaries, said: “At a time when the republican movement is under intense scrutiny, a public statement from Mr McGuinness telling Mr McCloskey that any threat against him has been lifted would be a step towards convincing the public that republicans are genuinely committed to the principles of non-violence.”

“With public confidence in the republican movement at a new low, a move on the exiles issue is long overdue and would be seen as very positive. As John Reid said in the House of Commons this week, a ceasefire is not enough.”

“We all have to make difficult decisions, and if Sinn Fein wants to regain the confidence of Alliance, this would be one worth taking.”


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