Raymond McCartney: “There is no-one trying to pretend…”

On yesterday’s BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney was adamant that he was the author of an opinion piece which appeared, in his name, in the Derry Journal on 19th July.  An opinion piece which re-appeared, word for word, in the Fermanagh Herald on the 20 July, as a letter to the editor from Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, MP, MLA, and in the Mourne Observer on the 27 July, as a letter to the editor from Sinn Féin’s Willie Clarke, MLA, and then in the Tyrone Times on the 29 July, again as a letter to the editor from Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, MP, MLA.  Today’s Irish News has the money quote from Raymond McCartney.

“It was an opinion piece, it was in my name and I penned it,” [Raymond McCartney] told the BBC.

“There is no-one trying to pretend.  The opinion piece was from me and then used by other people.”

Except that the Irish News has found another example of the same opinion piece.  This time, again word for word, in a column in An Phoblacht, written by Sinn Féin’s Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, dated 6 July 2006.

Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew, MP, MLA, is, perhaps wisely, denying all knowledge.  From the Irish News article

Ms Gildernew yesterday moved to distance herself from the embarrassing debacle.

“This piece was issued in my name when I was on holidays and it was not drafted or cleared by myself,” she said in a statement.

As the Irish News points out

Mr McCartney did not explain how, if he had written it, it had appeared 5 years previously under a different person’s name.

[That’s a breach of copyright! – Ed]  They should sue…