THE Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council who controversially refused to condemn the Enniskillen bombing has been reported to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards, The Impartial Reporter has learned.
It’s understood the Democratic Unionist Party, which lodged the complaint this week, want the Sinn Fein councillor suspended from the Council while an investigation into his remarks takes place.
During a wide ranging interview with The Impartial Reporter in July, Mr. McCann would not “go down the road of condemning” the IRA attack which killed 11 people and injured 63 people.
“People in my community have suffered as well and you can get into this thing of do you condemn this and do you condemn that? We are talking about an incident that happened 30 years ago, albeit still very raw in people’s minds and all the rest,” he told this newspaper. 
Councillor McCann’s remarks sparked controversy, a petition was launched calling for him to be sacked and the Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party and the SDLP walked out of a Council meeting he was chairing at Enniskillen Townhill over a week ago. 
Now an official complaint has been made to the Local Government Commissioner for Standards on behalf of the Democratic Unionist Party’s Fermanagh and Omagh councillors; Errol Thompson, Mark Buchanan, Keith Elliott, Paul Robinson, David Mahon and Raymond Farrell. 
Councillor Thompson has said the remarks by the Sinn Fein representative “must be investigated.”
During the interview with this newspaper, Councillor McCann also praised Seamus McElwaine, the former IRA volunteer who was shot dead by the SAS in 1986 as he and Sean Lynch, now a Sinn Fein MLA, tried to ambush an Army patrol near Rosslea.
“Seamus McElwaine was a person who played his part in the conflict,” he said.
“It’s people like Seamus McElwaine who has made it possible for people like me to come forward and do what I have to do without having to worry about going to jail,” said Councillor McCann.
But the chairman’s refusal to condemn the bombing and “his glorification of convicted IRA terrorist Seamus McElwaine” was “outrageous and caused hurt to many”, Councillor Thompson has said.
He believes Councillor McCann’s comments to this newspaper should be examined “in the context of both the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and the Declaration Against Terrorism.”
The Declaration Against Terrorism, signed by all councillors including Councillor McCann upon election, sates: “I will not by word or deed express support for or approval of: (a) any organisation that is for the time being a proscribed organisation specified in Schedule 2 to the Terrorism Act 2000 or (b) acts of terrorism (that to say violence for political ends) connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland.”
The DUP is also asking for its complaint to be investigated in the context of the Northern Ireland Local Government Code of Conduct for Councillors, in particular sections 1.5, 2.9, 3.3 and 4.11.
The code of conduct specifies that the Northern Ireland public has the right to expect high standards of behaviour from councillors and the manner in which they should conduct themselves in undertaking their official duties and in maintaining working relationships with fellow councillors and council employees. 
Councillors are reminded not to engage in conduct which could bring “your position as councillor or your council into disrepute” and are asked to take into account principles such as public duty, integrity, objectivity, accountability, leadership, equality, respect and promoting good relations. 
“The Chairman is the first citizen in the Council area and should be marked as being someone who unites rather than divides,” said Councillor Thompson.
“Councillor McCann has tarnished the Chairman’s position in that he made his comments while being interviewed as Chairman. 
“The Chairman represents the Council but these remarks do not represent those in the area who abhor terrorism.”
He says Councillor McCann has made “no attempt to rectify the offence caused.”
“By clinging to office, Councillor McCann is being arrogant and selfish, he is putting party before the office.
“We have lodged this complaint to address the genuine questions being asked if Councillor McCann has breached the Code of Conduct and the Declaration Against Terrorism. 
“We urge the commissioner to deal with the complaint in as timely a fashion as possible,” he said. 
A spokesperson for Sinn Fein said on Wednesday: “Yet again more stunt politics from the DUP.”