Politicians clash in wristband row

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams clashed with North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson after he wore a wristband supporting the Army at a meeting with families bereaved in an operation by British troops.

Owen Paterson
Owen Paterson

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams clashed with North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson after he wore a wristband supporting the Army at a meeting with families bereaved in an operation by British troops.

Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Paterson wore the green wristband backing the Royal Irish Regiment at a meeting in Belfast with the relatives of 11 people shot dead during the Ballymurphy Massacre of 1971.

During the meeting at Stormont House, Mr Paterson was challenged by Mr Adams for wearing the wristband, especially at a meeting where bereaved relatives were recounting their tales of horror from the event almost 40 years ago.

Mr Paterson was unavailable for comment.

One critic who witnessed the meeting said: "At one point Gerry challenged Owen Paterson for wearing the wristband, given the nature of the meeting."

A Government source said Mr Paterson had not sought to cause offence.

He said he had worn the wristband for a lengthy period to back troops who are based at Tern Hill.