Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin has called for Gerry Adams to apologise for his part in a Christmas video that has since been withdrawn after victims of the Provisional IRA described the production as insensitive and in poor taste.
The video featured Mr Adams, the former Sinn Feín president, in a comedy sketch in which he sings "Tis the season to be jolly, tiocfaidh ár lá, lá, lá, lá".
In the sketch, Mr Adams visits a house as a carol singer and the homeowner repeats a slogan first used by Mr Adams in August 1995 in relation to the Provisional IRA: “They haven’t gone away you know”.
In an interview for Deise Today on WLR FM, Mr Ó Broin said “tiocfaidh ár lá” was a “long standing political slogan and I don’t have a problem with it being used”. However, the Dublin Mid-West TD said people should be careful with their language with reconciliation in mind.
Asked by presenter Damien Tiernan should Mr Adams apologise, Mr Ó Broin replied: "Let me say one thing before I give you a straight yes or no answer. I don't believe for a second Gerry either intended to cause hurt or offence to anybody; I really don't. But given the fact that offence has been caused, yes, I think for him to apologise for the offence that has been caused would be helpful."
Sinn Féin TD for Waterford David Cullinane drew controversy in 2020 when he shouted "Up the 'Ra. Tiocfaidh ár Lá" at the end of a victory speech after the general election.
Mr Ó Broin said: "Tiocfaidh ár lá is a political slogan. It means 'our day will come' and for republicans like me when that phrase is said it means our day will come in terms of a united Ireland.
“It is a long standing political slogan and I don’t have a problem with it being used. But what I’m saying to you is: As we are navigating our way out of conflict… all of us have to be very mindful of the language that we use. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop using all of the language of the past.
“I am acutely aware that the past happened. There is nothing I can do to undo to hurt or pain or trauma that republicans, including some people I have worked with directly and very closely for many years, have caused. What I can do, and David Cullinane and our generation of republicans, is: One, make sure we never have a return to conflict ever again and, two, we all do everything we can to build as peaceful and as united a future as possible.
“Will we make mistakes along the way? Yes we will and I’m a long-standing believer that if you make a mistake hold your hand up and apologise and learn from your mistake.”
The video sketch featuring Mr Adams had appeared as online Christmas card with the greeting “have a Gerry Christmas”.
The greeting card company later withdrew the video and the greeting card after families of IRA victims raised their concerns.
Ferry Clever, the Derry-based company behind the video and Christmas card, said its business is based around "satirical comedy" and that it was "never our intention to offend anyone".
The full interview with Mr Ó Broin will air on Tuesday morning on Deise Today WLR FM.