Arlene Foster condemns Sinn Féin ‘glorification of terrorism’

DUP leader warns ardfheis IRA cheers have made restoring Stormont harder

Recent comments by Sinn Féin amounted to “glorification of terrorism” and made restoring the North’s power-sharing government more difficult, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster said on Tuesday.

Ms Foster’s comments referred to Sinn Féin’s celebration at its ardfheis on Saturday of the role former Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness played in the IRA’s campaign against British rule.

“It was quite disgraceful to look at the glorification that happened at the weekend of the IRA and terrorism, and of course that makes it more difficult for us,” Ms Foster told reporters in London where both parties had been meeting British prime minister Theresa May for talks.

“But we are committed to devolution, we want to see it working and we will continue to work at it.”


Mr McGuinness, who died in March, two months after pulling Sinn Féin out of government, was remembered in a speech at the conference by MP Elisha McCallion as “a proud member of the IRA” to large cheers.

Gerry Adams also said on Saturday he will step down next year after 34 years as party leader, completing a generational shift in the party.

The latest efforts at breaking a near year-long political stalemate in Belfast collapsed this month, prompting Britain to begin setting a budget for the North, a major step towards imposing direct rule from London for the first time in a decade.

Fresh attempts at restarting talks are unlikely until after both parties’ annual conferences.

Ahead of the talks with Ms May, Ms Foster said that further steps towards direct rule looked inevitable unless there is a change of direction.

Many in Northern Ireland fear direct rule would further destabilise a political balance between unionists and nationalists that has already been upset by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.–PA