SF councillor clarifies views on violence after unionist anger

Tony McCaul criticised for appearing to say a return to violence cannot be ruled out

Unionist colleagues of Causeway Coast and Glens Sinn Féin councillor, Tony McCaul (above), were critical of him for appearing to say a return to violence could not be ruled out. File photograph: Sinnfein.ie

Unionist colleagues of Causeway Coast and Glens Sinn Féin councillor, Tony McCaul (above), were critical of him for appearing to say a return to violence could not be ruled out. File photograph: Sinnfein.ie

 

A Sinn Féin councillor in the North has clarified his position on the use of violence to achieve political aims after unionists reacted angrily to comments he made on a social media site.

Unionist colleagues of Causeway Coast and Glens councillor, Tony McCaul, were critical of the 64-year-old for appearing to say a return to violence could not be ruled out.

He reportedly wrote on Facebook: “Republicans can never rule out any tactic, including violence. I now believe politics is expedient, that view could change if circumstances change.”

UUP Cllr Darryl Wilson described the comments Mr McCaul made on Saturday when interacting with Thomas “Dixie” Elliot, an ex-IRA prisoner from Derry, as “appalling”.

‘Historical context’

Mr McCaul told the Belfast Telegraph he had been talking in a “historical context”.

On Tuesday he set out his position in a statement to The Irish Times.

“I can see no reason why anyone should resort to violence either now or in the future,” he said.

“There is now a way forward for everyone to achieve their political aims through peaceful and democratic means.

“Sinn Féin has moved the issue of Irish reunification on to the national stage and is determined to bring about this change through the democratic process.

“The vast majority of the people of this island have endorsed the peace process and I call on anyone involved in any violent activity to listen to the will of the people and desist immediately from this activity.”