Sinn Féin TD’s tweet on IRA attacks

 

Sir, – Dr Philip McGarry rightly reminds us that “the single most important challenge facing the leaders of Irish society remains that of bringing about a genuine reconciliation of the Irish people” (Letters, November 30th). Some 22 years after the Belfast Agreement, surely we have learned enough to realise that such reconciliation “can only be based upon mutual respect”, particularly in relation to addressing the painful legacy of the more recent Troubles.

However the recent tweet (since deleted) by the Sinn Féin chairman of the Public Accounts Committee shows that sadly some of our leaders have not yet grasped that and more work needs to be done.

Talking of “slow learners” is a bit odd to say the least.

The Decade of Centenaries should not be used to sow hatred and division in these days. – Yours, etc,

JULITTA CLANCY,

Batterstown,

Co Meath.

Sir, – Seamus Mallon would surely have winced were he to have witnessed the adaptation of his depiction of the Belfast Agreement as Sunningdale for slow learners by those who inspired his words. – Yours, etc,

PAUL REARDON,

Dublin 9.

Sir, – DUP MP Gregory Campbell condemns those who wish to “hold on to the rhetoric of the past”. This, coming from someone who continues to glorify a battle over 300 years ago that sowed the seeds of the sectarian scourge that continues to afflict this island, is a bit rich. – Yours, etc,

RORY E MacFLYNN,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – It may be of interest to Brian Stanley TD, his colleagues in Sinn Féin, and their supporters, that the late Tom Barry who led the Kilmichael Ambush was no admirer of the Provos. In History Ireland (Summer 2004), Brian Hanley (NUI Maynooth) quotes Barry as saying that he felt an Ireland “overflowing with milk and honey” would not have been worth the cost of the Birmingham bombing of 1974. In 1976, Barry refused to sign a letter of support for republican prisoners, arguing that the Provisional IRA had lost support because of its own recent activities that he, as an old IRA man, could not countenance. – Yours, etc,

KEVIN SHEERIN,

Blackrock

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Reading the news article on Brian Stanley’s tweet comparing the Kilmichael and Narrow Water IRA ambushes, I agree with the thrust of Mr Stanley’s comparison of the two events, terrible as they were.

For him to express his feelings through a Tweet was crass and wrong. Whether some of us agree the attacks were justified or not, social media was not the place to discuss it. The Troubles are an open sore and don’t need poking on platforms outside of historical examinations.

Many republicans and families of British soldiers killed in the most recent conflict still live with the horror of lives lost in awful circumstances. The argument whether Kilmichael and Narrow Water were a continuation of the same war is an open debate. I say it was, others will say it was not. As a republican, I wish the conflict had never happened.

Kilmichael can be discussed now but a future generation will have to judge Narrow Water. – Yours, etc,

DONAL CARLIN,

Ballyconnell,

Co Cavan .

Sir, – Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley’s unforgivable tweet glorifying the IRA’s murder of 18 soldiers near Warrenpoint, on the same day they murdered Lord Mountbatten and two children, is despicable and unforgivable. When taken together with his colleague David Cullinane’s infamous “Up the Ra” comment after his Dáil election victory, their actions illustrate that if you scratch some Sinn Féin TDs, beneath the surface they remain unreconstructed apologists for the bloody IRA campaign which was responsible for 49 per cent of all murders during the North’s troubles.

As Sinn Féin has not been slow to call for other resignations in the Dáil for what they described as “inappropriate behaviour”, in spite of the fact that the respective TDs on those occasions apologised profusely, it is high time they applied the same principle to one of their own, namely Brian Stanley. – Yours, etc,

JOHN CUSHNAHAN,

(Former Fine Gael MEP

and former leader of

the Alliance Party),

Lisnagry,

Co Limerick.

Sir, – When reporting on Brian Stanley’s comment about Kilmichael and Warrenpoint (“Sinn Féin urged to take action over Stanley’s ‘glorification’ of IRA massacre”, News, November 30th), The Irish Times reported the full death toll at Kilmichael (“A total of 17 British soldiers were killed during the War of Independence incident at Kilmichael, alongside three IRA men”) but an incomplete death toll for Warrenpoint: “Eighteen British soldiers were killed at Warrenpoint by the Provisional IRA in August 1979.”

In the aftermath of the attack, a civilian, Michael Hudson, was also killed. Mr Hudson was shot dead by British soldiers firing across the river into the Republic.

Mr Hudson had no involvement in the IRA attack. He was simply viewing the scene from across the river. – Yours, etc,

DOMINIC CARROLL,

Ardfield,

Co Cork.

A chara, – Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley should be aware that there are “slow learners” on both sides of the Irish Sea.

So much for the “change” the people asked for at the last election.

If this is such a change, the huge cohort that voted for Sinn Féin in February has been hoodwinked. – Is mise,

PAT BURKE WALSH,

Gorey,

Co Wexford.