Saturday 1 October 2016

Sinn Féin MEP stands over criticism of 1916 Rising commemoration parade

Niall O'Connor and Adrian Rutherford

Published 30/03/2016 | 02:30

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan
Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan is standing over her criticism of the State's acclaimed 1916 Rising commemorations in Dublin.

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Following Sunday's parade, which was attended by hundreds of thousands, Ms Boylan complained that lilies should have been used instead of daffodils when four children laid flowers in one part of the event.

Venting her criticism, the Dublin MEP questioned if the use of daffodils was a case of "revisionism". Yet lilies were clearly on display outside the GPO on O'Connell Street.

Ms Boylan later reacted angrily on Twitter when her criticism was challenged - and she suggested she was dissatisfied with many aspects of the event: "In fairness I could complain about a lot more this was just a question so wind your neck in!!"

Although the lily is a long-time symbol of the Rising, it has also been associated with the Provisional IRA.

The criticism abour the daffodils were the MEP's only comments on the commemorations.

Asked about her criticism at Leinster House yesterday, Ms Boylan replied: "I was asking a question, am I not allowed ask a question anymore?"

She also described the issue as a "non-story".

Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly also defended the MEP's stance.

"To be fair, that question was asked by a huge number of people to me as well.

"People who would have had nothing to do with politics at all, they asked why, when the lily is so synonymous with 1916, why there were no lilies," she said.

Meanwhile, a Sinn Féin MLA has been slammed over anti-British comments made during an Easter commemoration in a border village. Sean Lynch claimed the British empire "was built on oppression, discrimination, torture and death".

He also hailed IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands as "a revolutionary and visionary in the same vein as James Connolly and Padraig Pearse".

The remarks, made during a Sinn Féin event in Pettigo, on the Donegal-Fermanagh border, have angered unionists and victims' campaigners.

Ken Funston, whose brother was murdered by the IRA near Pettigo, accused Mr Lynch of being ignorant of the pain of victims.

"I find it absolutely incredible the continued insensitivity of Sinn Féin, and how completely ignorant they are of the plight of victims of the Troubles," he said.

Mr Lynch is a Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA and a former IRA commander. He was captured by the SAS in 1986 whilst trying to blow up members of the security forces.

His accomplice, Seamus McElwaine - named by First Minister Arlene Foster as the man who previously tried to shoot dead her father - was killed. He received a 25-year prison sentence for possession of explosives and a rifle, but was released in 1998 under the Good Friday Agreement.

Irish Independent

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