An IRA supporting SNP council candidate has been pictured leading a Republican march through Glasgow as pressure mounts on Nicola Sturgeon to replace him.
Alan Casey was cleared to stand as an SNP candidate in the Glasgow council elections despite his public social-media posts stating “Up the Provos” and “F*ck the Brits” as well as several making reference to the troubles in Ireland and paying tribute to deceased IRA members.
But the Nats defended their candidate, currently parliamentary assistant to SNP MSP Ivan McKee, by saying the comments were made several years ago and that Casey now realises they were “in poor taste”.
However the new pictures that have came to light, thought to be from 2010, will add more scrutiny to the controversial pick as pressure grows from across Holyrood to replace him before the deadline in March.
Conservative MSP Anne Wells has since urged the First Minister to remove his candidacy and expel him from the party.
The Springburn single-mum and Celtic fan Wells was one of the big surprises of the 2015 election when she became the first ever 2nd Tory MSP to be elected through the list system in Glasgow, after only becoming involved in politics to play an active part in The Better Together campaign in the previous years Independence referendum.
In the letter written to Sturgeon she said: “All political parties in Scotland have an honourable record in standing up against the appalling crimes carried out by terrorists on both sides of the divide in Northern Ireland. Maintaining that record requires us to ensure we show zero tolerance to any member or representative who adds credence to the murderers and cowards who brought pain and suffering to Northern Ireland for so many years.
“It is for this reason that we urge you to remove Mr Casey as a candidate and to expel him from your party. Doing so will send the right message that none of us, Catholic or Protestant, Republican or Unionist, tolerate the politics of hate and violence.”
Casey is shown playing the drum at a memorial march for former IRA member Martin “Doco” Doherty who was knowingly active with the prescribed terrorist organisation until he was murdered by rival UVF paramilitaries in 1994.
Dublin born Doherty first got involved with the IRA’s Dublin brigade after the death of the 10 Republican Hunger Strikers in 1981 but quickly rose through the ranks before being jailed for 6 years as part of a sting operation due to an informant known as a “Supergrass”. After his release he was arrested again, this time travelling to England to take part in the ongoing arms and bombing campaign against the British Government.
He was charged with conspiracy but released in 1991 and returned to Dublin.
In 1994 he was working as a doorman at a well known Republican hang-out when he confronted two suspicious looking men trying to enter the pub with a hold-all. When Doherty challenged the he was shot three times and died instantly.
The men turned out to be UVF members and their bag contained 18Ib bomb but the main explosives failed to ignite after it’s detonator exploded while people attended to Doherty and another doorman injured in the incident.
The IRA later issued a statement thanking Doherty and saying “He died heroically in the defence of other and his quick thinking and bravery saved many lives.”
Casey was cleared to stand for council elections for the SNP just days after their leader Nicola Sturgeon was forced to apologise after another SNP MSP described the IRA as “freedom fighters” on Twitter.
The SNP are firm favourites to clear up in this years election and all but banish The ruling Labour Party from Glasgow City Council.
But the First Minister hasn’t been without her headaches to seek regarding candidates after it was also revealed that another council candidate Sonja Cameron had past links to anti-English “tartan terror” group Settler Watch.
Cameron was previously suspended from the party for 2 years for her links to the racist extremist group and was friends with convicted terrorist Andrew McIntosh who was jailed for 12 years for his part in a hoax-bombing campaign.
In a more positive light The SNP will also be standing “Glasgow Girl” Roza Shalih as the countries first former asylum seeker as a council candidate.