Club’s silence poor reflection on our society: UUP MLA

UUP MLA Andy Allen says he is disappointed with the GAA's atttitude to former PSNI officer Peadar Herron. 
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
UUP MLA Andy Allen says he is disappointed with the GAA's atttitude to former PSNI officer Peadar Herron. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

A wheelchair-bound MLA has spoken of his “disappointment” after a GAA club declined to comment on claims that it ostracised a former player who chose to join the police.

UUP representative Andy Allen, a former solider who lost both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan, was speaking after ex- GAA player Peadar Heffron claimed he was spurned by his team-mates and officials after joining the PSNI in 2002.

Dissident republicans planted an under-car bomb in Mr Heffron’s car in 2010, which exploded while he was driving to work resulting in him losing his right leg.

Mr Allen told the News Letter that the club’s silence on the matter was a “poor reflection” of Northern Ireland’s society.

He added: “When I was blown up in Afghanistan, I was overwhelmed by the volume of support I received from people on both sides of the political divide in Northern Ireland.

“I have met Peadar and he has a good outlook on life, despite the suffering he has endured.

“Given how involved Mr Heffron was with this club, and the horrific nature of the injuries he sustained, it is a shame that the club seems to be stuck in the past and has not offered him its full support.

“It is a poor reflection not just on the club itself, but also on our society.

“Attitudes have thankfully improved in recent years but things like this do not help.

“I hope Creggan GAC make some inroads towards reconciliation.”

READ MORE: Former Catholic PSNI officer Peadar Heffron breaks silence over bomb attack

READ MORE: GAA club should say sorry to its PSNI member bomb victims, says Trevor Ringland

READ MORE: PSNI officers can’t live in Catholic areas, says Denis Bradley