Sunday 25 September 2016

Martin accuses Sinn Fein of undermining 1916 Rising commemorations

Sam Griffin

Published 19/04/2015 | 13:47

Michael Martin
Michael Martin

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin has launched a scathing attack on Sinn Fein accusing the party of undermining the 1916 Rising commemorations and being unfit for government.

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Mr Martin was speaking at the annual 1916 Commemoration at Arbour Hill where he said 1916 belonged to no party and that the centenary events needed to be an occasion of “genuine national celebration” and “as inclusive as possible”.

However he told the crowd Sinn Fein are now “engaged in a deeply sinister attempt to misuse the respect which Irish people have for 1916”.

“Let no one be in any doubt, Provisional Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA have no connection with 1916.  To claim otherwise is a dangerous and cynical lie,” he said this afternoon.

“Through this attempt to claim a link with 1916, Sinn Fein and the movement they are part of, is insulting and undermining the place of the Rising in our national identity.

He said the party’s efforts to link and try to legitimise the sacrifices made in 1916 with Sinn Fein’s involvement in the conflict in Northern Ireland is the reason “Sinn Fein remains unfit for participation in a democratic republican government”.

“They are no longer as a movement engaged in murdering people, and this remains a great achievement for democratic parties that worked to get them to stop the killing. 

“But what they have refused to do is acknowledge that they were always wrong.  By claiming legitimacy for their campaign they refuse to acknowledge the right of the Irish people to oppose and reject them.

“They refuse to acknowledge that they fought against this state.  They killed servants of this republic and worked to destroy its institutions,” he said.

He said Sinn Fein disregarded the Proclamation and he also referenced the murder of mother-of-ten Jean McConville and the recent allegations of the efforts to cover up acts of child abuse committed by IRA members.

“No member of the Provisional movement has yet lifted a finger to address the widespread abuse of children by their members and the systematic covering up of it up to this day.  They shot children in the streets for defying them and they turned a blind eye to the abuse of children.

He later added: “We cannot and we must not let these people succeed in their campaign to claim the mantle of republicanism.  They are not republicans. They put their interests and without fail their movement first.”

He also criticised the “clean new faces” in Sinn Fein including deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and attacked the party’s role in government in Northern Ireland.

He also took fire at UK Prime Minister David Cameron who he accused of a “sustained disengagement with the North” and called for a yes vote in next month’s same-sex marriage referendum.

He made the address after a mass at the Arbour Hill church which was led by Father Eoin Thynne. The proclamation was read out by senator and Dublin Fingal election candidate Darragh O'Brien.

Mr Martin then laid down a commemorative wreath.

Among those in attendance were Fianna Fail front bench TDs including Eamon O'Cuiv, Timmy Dooley, Brendan Smith and Sean O'Fearghail as well as senators Averil Power and Thomas Byrne.

Several current councillors were also at the commemoration including Sean Haughey and Kate Feeney as well as former minister Mary O'Rourke.

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