2 October 2003 Edition

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Meehan aiming for Europe in gun row

Antrim Sinn Féin Councillor Martin Meehan said he will take his case for a firearm licence to the European Courts of Human Rights after he was refused a permit after an appeal hearing in Belfast High Court on Friday 26 September.

The republican ex-prisoner had brought the appeal demanding a review of the previous case under Human Rights legislation enshrining the right to life, before three senior judges.

Seamus Tracey, barrister for Meehan argued in court that the refusal to grant a firearms certificate to the councillor was an infringement of the basic right to life.

The judges' 40-page summary conceded that Meehan and his family did face "verified and authentic threats" from unionist paramilitaries, but they ruled that this was outweighed by the risk posed by permitting Meehan to carry a gun.

"What the judges actually were saying was that my convictions actually outweigh my right to protect myself and family from unionist paramilitary death threats," said Meehan. "I think it is staggering for a court to say that the threat to my life is indisputable but then decide that I cannot do anything about it.

"I will be taking this to the European Court to argue the case that I have as much right to defend myself and family as anyone else".


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