Former councillor pleads guilty to child cruelty

Briege Meehan
Briege Meehan

A former Newtownabbey Sinn Fein councillor has admitted charges of assault and cruelty on her step-daughter.

Former Antrim Line representative Briege Meehan was due to go on trial accused of four counts of gross indecency, two charges of indecent assault, one charge of child cruelty and another of attempted gross indecency.

The charges all related to incidents which allegedly took place between July, 1979 and October, 1980.

However, before the trial got underway at Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday (June 5), the 66-year-old changed her plea to one of the existing charges, namely that of child cruelty, and pleaded guilty to two additional charges of assault on Mary Meehan.

The remaining seven charges were left on the books.

Briege Meehan, of Elmfield Street, Belfast, is the widow of deceased republican and IRA chief Martin.

When she was initially charged with the offences, Sinn Fein suspended her from the party and she later resigned her seat, vowing to clear her name.

A date of July 2 has been set for sentencing.