Suspended prison sentence for former Sinn Fein councillor

Briege Meehan
Briege Meehan

Former Newtownabbey Sinn Fein councillor Briege Meehan has been given a suspended prison sentence for child cruelty and assault after admitting abusing her stepdaughter more than 30 years ago.

At Laganside Courts, Meehan, from Elmfield Street in Belfast, was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years.

Last month the 66-year-old widow of senior IRA man Martin Meehan pleaded guilty to a charge of child cruelty and two of assault. Seven charges of sexual abuse were ‘left on the books’ but not proceeded with.

Briege Meehan was elected as the first Sinn Fein member of Newtownabbey Borough Council in 2001, representing the Antrim Line area.

She was suspended by the party after she was interviewed by police about the allegations made by her stepdaughter, Mary, in February 2009.

Local Alliance Party councillor Tom Campbell, who previously represented the Antrim Line area, said that Sinn Fein has serious questions to answer about what was known about Mrs Meehan when she was selected by the party to stand for election on two occasions.