SF apology to bishop over ‘untrue’ letter

Sinn Fein has apologised to the Catholic Bishop of

Dromore for misrepresenting

his views on abortion.

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said letters sent out to his constituents had “seriously misquoted” John McAreavey in regard to a “fundamental area of Church moral teaching”.

Mr Maskey apologised for the mailing and said all reference to the bishop’s views had been removed from all print and electronic literature and on Facebook. Bishop McAreavey said he accepted the apology but strongly criticised the content of the letters.

He said how any political party could have been mistaken about the pro-life position of the Church “defied belief”.

Mr Maskey said the letters “seriously misquoted and misrepresented the position” of the bishop and that he apologised “unreservedly” for any hurt and distress caused.

Bishop McAreavey said: “When I became aware of party political literature which was jointly issued in the names of Sue Ramsey MLA and councillor Matt Garrett of Sinn Fein, which stated that I ‘share’ their position on the ‘termination’ of unborn human life, I was appalled.

“This is an untrue and most damaging assertion.

“I cannot emphasise enough the seriousness of this action which has misused my good name and impugned the teaching reputation of my ministry as bishop.”