There has been a furious outcry in Lisburn after it was revealed that a city councillor is backing a song supporting the two men convicted of the murder of policeman Stephen Carroll.
Star readers and fellow councillors expressed their outrage that Independent Councillor Angela Nelson has publicly supported the single entitled ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’.
Mrs Nelson said the release of the single, which was written by Pol McAdam, was not intended to offend the widow of the murdered policeman, saying it “is not intended to hurt Kate Carroll”.
The Lisburn Councillor, who is also Chairperson of the ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’ group, explained: “The single of the song will be launched on March 15 following the BBC Radio 1 official chart show and the group will campaign for the public to download the song over the following week.”
Mrs Nelson, who said she believed Brendan McConville, 42, and 22-year-old John Paul Wootton, who are currently serving life sentences for Stephen Carroll’s murder in March 2009, were “set up”, continued: “This is a protest song to raise awareness of the Craigavon Two case because we believe these are two innocent men convicted for something they didn’t do.
That does not give Kate Carroll justice either. The reason for doing this is not to add to her grief, but to raise the case of a miscarriage of justice.”
Mrs Nelsons’ comments have sparked outrage in Lisburn, with readers emailing the Star and posting their disgust on Facebook. Several readers, including Jennie Kelly and Trevor Millar, branded Councillor Nelson’s support of the song “disgusting”.
Dorothy McAllister commented on Facebook: “Does she want them to actually serve life for their evil crime?
“How are the people of Northern Ireland supposed to move forward when the likes of her still think they can get away with calling murder by some other name when it serves their purpose?”
Marco Irvine said: “She’s SF/IRA, what else could one possibly expect from the shinners......next she will be wanting a local park named after them and a Nobel Peace Prize bestowed upon them! Warped, twisted, and utterly immoral!”
Janet Hurt emailed to say: “It’s disgusting a representative supports a song and police officer killers. She should resign.”
Philip Sheilds commented: “The misguided song campaign supported by an elected representative is shameful and again I hope it fails miserably.
Justice on ‘their’ terms is what they want. Their version of justice.”
Carney Brennan wrote: “I’m surprised that a council member would be supporting two convicted murderers. What is the idea of a single being released in support of these men? Has this woman considered the emotional impact this song may have on the Carroll family? Maybe that would not concern people of her ilk. It’s disgusting this woman can use her position in the community to come up with such a ridiculous campaign. These men have not been found guilty once but twice so I hope if this goes to the supreme court the original verdict will stand GUILTY and allow Kate Carroll some respite from trial after trial.”
There was also a backlash from Mrs Nelson’s fellow councillors. Ulster Unionist Councillor Alexander Redpath said he was “appalled” by the release of the single. “I am absolutely appalled by these comments as all right thinking people should be,” he said. “Justice was served on Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton when they were sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a police officer as he was serving his community. They were given the opportunity to appeal and this was thrown out. Due process has been followed and the conclusion of the criminal proceedings was that these men deserved to receive the severest punishment. This vile single will only serve to cause hurt to the loved ones of Constable Stephen Carroll. It is both cruel and lithesome behaviour. I call upon itunes and other providers to remove this song from sale. I condemn Cllr Nelson’s actions and we can only draw the conclusion that she supports and condones the actions of these murderers.”