'What about your own party's comments?' Calvert asks DUP

A TUV councillor who compared the actions of some PSNI offiers to the Gestapo has invited DUP members to disassociate themselves from comments made in the past by members of their party.

Lisburn Council wrote to Alderman Cecil Calvert at the suggestion of DUP councillor Paul Givan after he was absent from last month's meeting requesting that he withdraw formally his comments and apologise.

In his reply Mr Calvert said he was "surprised" to receive the letter as his apology for the remarks made "was widely covered in the press". He said he suspected the letter "was not written in order to obtain clarity on this matter but rather it was an attempt by some within the Council, particularly the DUP members, to score a political point."

In the letter Mr Calvert said: "I have made it clear and very publicly so that my comparison between the conduct of the PSNI and that of the Gestapo was wholly inappropriate and I have withdrawn my comments".

He added: "I look forward to members of the DUP disassociating themselves from the many comments made by members of that party down through the years.

"For example: would DUP members of the Council care to comment on Dr Paisley's comments on the 24th June 1986 when he said of the brave RUC 'Don't come crying to me if your homes are attacked, you will reap what you sow'?"

Speaking at Tuesday night's monthly meeting Mr Givan described the letter as being "littered with inaccuracies". He said: " People want honesty and integrity."

"No apology has been made and he can make it now. "

Going through the letter Mr Givan said: "There was no heated debate prior to MrCalvert's comments. It became heated as a result of what he said.

Mr Calvert was invited by the Mayor to retract and he didn't. He then spoke to the Star and stood over the comments but then came the TUV retraction."

Responding to Mr Givan's criticism Mr Calvert said: "I ask the question - what part of that apology do Paul Givan and others not understand? I have made my apology. I won't be bullied by the DUP or anyone else. Hypocrites in the DUP should look at their own party before critcising me and the TUV."

Deputy Mayor Alderman Paul Porter welcomed Mr Calvert's reply saying: "You have apologised and we can move on." However he said that the letter cast aspersions on the Mayor "who on at least three occasions asked Mr Calvert to retract his comment".

UUP Alderman Jim Dillon commented: "I thought we had moved on. I hope the matter will be forgotten about. We have all maybe said things we have regretted and I appeal to everyone to move on."