Sinn Fein premier’s prospect is a ‘punches in the stomach’ for IRA victims
Gary Murray, whose 13-year-old sister Leanne was one of nine people killed in the 1993 atrocities, said if Sinn Fein is electorally successful the party has ‘a very long way to go’ to gain even a grain of confidence. victims of the IRA.
“The result is a punch in the stomach for a lot of people. Until recently, Sean Kelly – one of those responsible for the murder of my sister and eight others – was openly canvassing Sinn Fein,” he said.
“Sinn Fein still has a long way to go to gain a grain of trust from my family, and from so many others who have borne the brunt of the militant part of the Irish Republican movement’s campaign.
“I want to hear some acknowledgment from them that what was done in the name of a united Ireland was wrong and it just created the rift. This must be recognized once and for all – the violence was both wrong and unnecessary.
The daughter of a murdered part-time UDR corporal from Co Tyrone has said Michelle O’Neill’s assertion that Sinn Fein can represent everyone rings hollow for IRA victims.
Serena Hamilton, whose father David Graham was fatally shot at the Coalisland factory where he worked in 1977, said: “Just a few weeks ago the person who became the political figurehead of our country, Michelle O’Neill, was present at an event in East Tyrone where three Provisional IRA terrorists were celebrated through the unveiling of a new memorial.
“How can Mrs. O’Neill ever represent my interests and those of so many others who seek justice, truth and accountability following the actions of [the Provisional IRA]?”
“Sinn Fein may think they can avoid dealing with the Provisional IRA campaign, they can’t. That’s the legacy they have to deal with.
Innocent Victims United spokesman Kenny Donaldson said: ‘Many innocent victims and survivors and survivors of Provisional IRA terrorism are infuriated by the election result, however, this frustration has not happened. in a day, it has accumulated over the last quarter of a century.
“Sinn Fein has succeeded in convincing a large part of the population that it is a progressive political party committed to equality and fairness for all.
“The party has perfectly somersaulted its positions on the EU, social issues including same-sex marriage, abortion etc. and its team structure has been transformed by the departure of the old guard and the arrival of those who are of the second/third generation within republican families or totally freed from history.
Mr Donaldson added: “We challenge Sinn Fein to state their position on the rights to justice, truth and accountability of victims/survivors of Provisional IRA terrorism, what is your party and your movement are ready to do to defend the needs of these individuals? ”
In April last year, the police chief said the PSNI stood by its 2015 assessment of paramilitary groups in NI – suggesting an ongoing relationship between the IRA Army Council and Sinn Fein.
Simon Byrne told the News Letter that the continued role of Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries in NI politics is still ‘highly relevant’ – twenty years on, since the Patten Report envisioned a fresh start for policing .
The report states that: “PIRA members believe that the PAC [Provisional Army Council] oversees both PIRA and Sinn Fein with an overall strategy”.
A Sinn Féin spokesman said: “All victims of the conflict have a right to truth and justice and to the implementation of the mechanisms of the Stormont House agreement in a human rights manner.”