PUP’s Hodge rejects gunrun scam claim

The Clyde Valley gunrunning ship.
The Clyde Valley gunrunning ship.

Larne PUP representative Jonathan Hodge has branded as “ridiculous” Sinn Fein MLA Oliver McMullan’s claim last week that demands had been made of two local businesses in connection with Larne Gunrunning commemorative events.

He said: “The remarks are ridiculous and unfounded and are just another attempt by Mr McMullan to damage Larne’s reputation. If he has any evidence that this type of activity has taken place then he should present it to the PSNI immediately, who should investigate in full.”

Mr Hodge revealed that a parade is planned for Saturday, April 26 - the 100th anniversary of the Clyde Valley gunrunning. He said: “The organisers of this parade are planning a well-managed event that is family and community-friendly and that is open to people from all backgrounds. It is a shame that their positive efforts are being undermined by Mr McMullan’s divisive approach to community relations in the town.”

Mr Hodge added: “I would urge local businesses to support the organisers of this event, which is expected to bring thousands of people into the town. I also hope that local people come out to take part in what promises to be a wonderful celebration of an important part of our town’s history.”

Centenary parades in Larne and Donaghadee are being organised by a group called the Operation Lion committee, after the codename of the 1914 gunrunning. They state on their facebook page that they want the commemorations to be “the most memorable events in 2014” and that “massive preparations” are being made.

“These historical events will be a magnificent expression of pageantry and culture”, says one facebook post.