McMullan claim ‘gives Larne a very bad image’

Oliver McMullan. INLT 46-319-PR
Oliver McMullan. INLT 46-319-PR

Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan has been challenged over claims he made that bar owners in Larne have been threatened not to serve Catholics.

Alderman Jack McKee said Mr McMullan was “playing a dangerous game”.

“While there may be some problems there is nothing on the scale he is trying to paint. He is giving Larne a very bad image and as an elected representative he has a duty to get industry to the area. Instead he will drive people out of the town.”

PUP representative Jonathan Hodge has said that recent remarks by Oliver McMullan about ongoing tensions between loyalists are “untrue and irresponsible.”

He said: “Irresponsible and untrue comments like those made by Mr McMullan are designed to damage the image of the town and damage community relations.

“Significant progress has been made locally over the past decade in terms of community and economic development and Mr McMullan is attempting to undermine this positive work to further his own agenda.

“This isn’t the first time Mr McMullan has attempted to increase tensions in the town through scurrilous stories and I would ask him to desist in the future and instead focus on working with others to improve our local economy.”

Responding to remarks about intimidation of local publicans, Mr Hodge: “If anyone has any relevant information in relation to this they should report it directly to the PSNI.”

Local man Pat Campbell also contacted the Larne Times to voice his concern over Mr McMullan’s claims.

He said that people of all backgrounds meet in the pubs of Larne without any trouble and the MLA’s comments would only just drive trade away at a time when the bar owners needed their trade.

“He should keep his nose out of Larne and stop stirring things up. The police too could also help the situation by actually trying to find out if there had been any intimidation”

Oliver McMullan, meanwhile, said he would be meeting police this week.

“Since I highlighted that bar owners were told not to serve Catholics I have been approached by many people from the Unionist community with similar stories,” he said.