• Sat. Dec 10th, 2022

A tweet by a Sinn Féin TD celebrating two historical IRA attacks on the British army have been described as “really insensitive and stupid”.

Nov 30, 2020

A tweet by a Sinn Féin TD celebrating two historical IRA attacks on the British army have been described as “really insensitive and stupid”. 
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Sinn Féin frequently speak about the need for legacy infrastructure to deal with the past in a sensitive way in Northern Ireland, yet a senior member comes out with this “bile” on social media. 
He said the remarks by Brian Stanley, which were later deleted, is another case of the “mask slipping” and the Laois/Offaly TD should know better. 
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster is to write to the Dáil’s Ceann Comhairle regarding Mr Stanley’s tweet, which was published on Saturday on the centenary of the Kilmichael ambush in 1920. 
He wrote to his 3,700 followers: “Kilmicheal (sic) (1920) and Narrow Water (1979) the 2 IRA operations that taught the elective of (the) British army and the establishment the cost of occupying Ireland. Pity for everyone they were such slow learners.” 
Mr Coveney said the comments are really unhelpful in terms of Northern Ireland where efforts are being made to put in legacy infrastructure to help victims’ families on all sides to move forward in a sense of true reconciliation. 
He said Sinn Féin needs to make a clear statement and ensure these kind of comments to do happen again. 
Speaking on the same programme, DUP MP Gregory Campbell said Mr Stanley’s tweet “displays a mindset that surfaces from time to time from Sinn Féin people” who want to hold onto “the rhetoric of the past”.
He said these types of “corrosive and divisive” comments cause problems for younger generations, who think this type of rhetoric is okay.
He said it is a matter for the Dáil and Sinn Féin to decide how to respond to Deputy Stanley’s remarks. 
Mr Campbell said the DUP has been unequivocal in its condemnation of violence as “absolutely wrong” and which cannot be justified, defended or “tweeted in support of”. 
He said that while there are sometimes interactions with former loyalist paramilitaries, the DUP has always stressed that this does not indicate any support for terrorism and “we make it absolutely clear there is no time for or support for terror, murder or violence.”
The Kilmichael ambush was an attack carried out by the IRA during the War of Independence in which 17 members of the Royal Irish Constabulary Auxiliary Division were killed.
The Narrow Water ambush took place during the Troubles and saw 18 British soldiers killed by the IRA near Warrenpoint, in 1979.
Mr Stanley later apologised for the “content of an inappropriate and insensitive tweet I sent yesterday (Saturday).”
A Sinn Féin spokesperson said: “We note that Brian Stanley has deleted a tweet that was inappropriate and insensitive, and that he has apologised. 
“We all have a responsibility in this Decade of Centenaries to remember and commemorate the past in a respectful manner.”