Saturday 21 January 2017

IRA victim's son disgusted at Sinn Féin Lord Mayor for 1916 centenary

Breda Heffernan and Ryan Nugent

Published 30/06/2015 | 02:30

New Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Criona Ní Dhálaigh
New Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Criona Ní Dhálaigh

The son of murdered chief prison officer Brian Stack has expressed disgust that a Sinn Féin councillor will be Lord Mayor of Dublin for the 1916 centenary commemoration next year.

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Austin Stack, whose father was killed by the IRA in 1983, has accused Sinn Féin of trying to "hijack" the 100-year anniversary.

He was speaking as Councillor Criona Ní Dhálaigh was elected Lord Mayor at a meeting in Dublin's City Hall last night. She is the first Sinn Féin councillor to hold the prestigious post.

Mr Stack said: "It's nauseating to think that a person who is a member of an organisation which supported the slaughter of thousands of Irish people over the last 40 years will now take a salute on a reviewing stand, on a day which remembers those who gave their lives for democracy and inclusiveness." He claimed Sinn Féin was trying to "hijack a day celebrating the birth of our democracy" and wanted to use the office of the Lord Mayor to create a link between their organisation and 1916.

He said it would be "very insensitive" to ask gardaí, prison officers and members of the Defence Forces, who lost colleagues to the IRA, to salute at the reviewing stand "somebody whose organisation supports the actions which led to their colleagues being murdered".

Mr Stack said in the interests of peacemaking, he was calling on the new Lord Mayor to decline her invitation to sit on the reviewing stand at next year's commemoration.

However, Cllr Ní Dhálaigh rejected suggestions that Sinn Féin would seek to dominate the 1916 centenary year.

"It is a hugely important year and I just want to reiterate - and we've said this until we're blue in the face - that the celebration and commemoration of 1916 does not belong to any one single party," she said.

"It belongs to the people of Dublin. My party has been celebrating 1916 for years, so it's nothing new to us. We will commemorate it, and the important thing is that the people who do commemorate the brave heroes of 1916 do so in a fitting manner."

Cllr Ní Dhálaigh took 41 of the 59 votes in a landslide victory. As revealed in the Irish Independent yesterday, Sinn Féin and Labour struck a deal to retain virtually full control over the positions of mayorship until 2019

Irish Independent

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