Coming to terms with legacy of Troubles


Sir, – On August 8th, Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill published a tribute on the 40th anniversary of the death of republican hunger striker Thomas McElwee. She claimed that Mr McElwee and other hunger strikers “died for Irish Freedom”. In a further tribute on its website, Sinn Féin described Mr McElwee as “a political prisoner unbowed and unbroken”.

However, Mr McElwee, who was responsible for a number of bomb attacks, chose to die. Yvonne Dunlop, a 27-year-old mother of three children, did not. She was burnt alive in her clothes shop in Ballymena which was bombed by Mr McElwee and for which he was convicted.

Sinn Féin’s comments illustrate the hypocrisy and callous disregard that Sinn Féin has for the relatives of victims in Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Its tributes to Mr McElwee is in marked contrast to the comments it made during the recent controversy over legacy issues when it postured as defenders of the rights of the relatives of victims to get closure for their pain and suffering.

There will never be genuine peace and reconciliation on this island while Sinn Féin MLAs and Sinn Féin TDs continue to glorify terrorists, publish eulogies for them and refuse to apologise for the IRA terrorist campaign of violence. This also applies to other organisations which glorify acts of murder. – Yours, etc,


(Former leader of the

Alliance Party and

former Fine Gael MEP),

Lisnagry, Co Limerick.