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Spat over John Smeaton’s role in terror attack

17.03.08

An unseemly spat was played out in the media yesterday over the role of John Smeaton in the Glasgow Airport terror attack, with one of the other men who helped tackle the two terrorist branding him ‘a fake’. Mr Smeaton responded with dignity, saying that he did and that he had always said he was not the only one involved, had publicised the actions of the other men and had even supported their campaign for equal recognition.

Alex McIlveen is reported to have told the Sunday Mail that Mr Smeaton was ‘not telling the whole truth’. He said it was he and two other men, Michael Kerr and Stephen Clarkson, who were mainly responsible for defeating the terrorists that day and all Mr Smeaton contributed were fine words.

He said: ‘When it came to tackling the bombers, he didn't land a blow. Let's not kid ourselves here. The only reason John Smeaton got so much attention is because of what he said afterwards about Glasgow not tolerating terrorists. He has turned the whole of the Glasgow bombing attempt into the John Smeaton show.’

Responding to the new claims, Mr Smeaton said he was saddened that others had changed their story. He denied that he had sought out fame, saying: ‘It is very sad that after all this time some individuals who have been on public record acknowledging what happened should choose to see things differently. I'm confident and relaxed about the situation.'

'I have never felt worthy of any praise that has been given to me however, if others want to acknowledge your involvement there's very little you can do other than try and graciously accept their kindness. It is a strange world some people try and blow out your candle to make their own grow brighter.’

Mr Smeaton stressed that he had long wanted the others to be honoured. He said: ‘There were several lads who helped on that day. As I've said over and over again they all should be recognised for their efforts and behaviour instead of debating who did the most. It should not be turned into a competition.’

Mr McIlveen, Mr Kerr and Mr Clarkson are fighting for 'proper recognition' for their efforts at the airport on June 30. We would be surprised if this latest development helps their campaign at all.

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