Praise for IRA hunger striker who killed young mother in horror firebomb called “beyond the disease”
A TRIBUTE by Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill to a hunger striker whose bomb burned a young mother to death has been called “beyond the disease”.
Thomas McElwee died in Maze Prison 40 years ago after refusing to eat for 62 days.
He had been jailed for the 1976 IRA firebomb attack on a Co Antrim store.
The mother of three, Yvonne Dunlop, 26, suffered a horrific end when she was burned to death in the Alley Katz clothing store in Ballymena.
A court heard that a bag was left in the shop which exploded an instant after she looked inside.
Her mother explained, “She had just walked into the back of the store when she shouted, ‘There’s a bomb, come out!’
“Then suddenly the whole place caught fire. Her (new) son escaped with just his scorched hair but my daughter was unlucky “
“SALT IN DEEP WOUNDS”
In a tweet, Michelle O’Neill wrote: “Today marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Tom McElwee after 62 days of hunger strike.”
She added: “Fuair sé bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann”, which means: “They died for Irish freedom”.
TUV chief Jim Allister said his endorsement of McElwee, of Bellaghy, County Derry, was “a glorification of the vile murderer of Ballymena’s young mother, Yvonne Dunlop, is beyond sick.
“Honoring McIlwee, Michelle O’Neill once again rubs salt into the deep wounds inflicted needlessly by the bloodthirsty terror of the IRA.”
UUP chief Doug Beattie said: “This is the problem with our society. The murderer is remembered, not the victim.
“Thomas McElwee dealt Ireland a heavy blow by burning 26-year-old Yvonne Dunlop to death.
“His name will forever be linked to this brutal murder, however Sinn Fein turns out.”
McElwee and his cousin Francis Hughes, also a hunger striker who died in May 1981, were involved in a massive firebombing campaign.
The 19-year-old McElwee was arrested after the premature explosion of a bomb he was carrying.
Among other injuries, he lost an eye.
He was subsequently convicted of the murder of Ms Dunlop.
This was reduced to manslaughter on appeal.
He died in prison three months after his fellow hunger striker Bobby Sands.
In a tribute to Sinn Fein, he described McElwee as “a political prisoner, unyielding and uninterrupted”.
‘HIS HISTORY COUNTS’
Alliance leader Naomi Long said it was “a heavily altered version of her story.
“McElwee was sentenced to 20 years for possession of explosives and the murder of Yvonne Dunlop, a 26-year-old mother who was burnt alive when one of the firebombs destroyed her clothing store.
“His story matters. It should not be erased. “
Her party colleague Councilor Sorcha Eastwood said that “when SF and others rewrite history with the IRA as heroes, it is hurtful, unfair to those murdered by terrorists and decency everywhere. .
“Tragic. Just tragic. It’s so heartbreaking,” she said.