Tuesday 28 February 2017

Sinn Fein 'naive' to ignore victims' families

Fiach Kelly and Michael Brennan

THE brother of a garda murdered by the IRA last night said it was "naive" of Sinn Fein not to take into account the hurt of victims' families when putting forward Martin McGuinness for the presidency.

During the campaign, Michael Hand told the Irish Independent his "family's blood" was on Mr McGuinness's hands.

His brother, Detective Garda Frank Hand, was murdered by the IRA in a post office raid in Meath in 1984.

Michael Hand's intervention came a day after Mr McGuinness was confronted by David Kelly, whose father Patrick Kelly was a solider shot dead by IRA men in a gunbattle with the kidnappers of supermarket boss Don Tidey in 1983.

Both reminded voters of Mr McGuinness's IRA past and rocked the Sinn Fein campaign. "It was the intervention of David Kelly and then myself and others which had an impact," Mr Hand said last night. "To brush aside the pain that we all feel was very naive of Sinn Fein," he added.

Mr Kelly could not be contacted for comment last night.

Frank Hand was just 25 when he was gunned down while accompanying a cash delivery to a post office in Drumree, Co Meath, in August 1984. He had just married his wife, Breda, five weeks previously. She was pregnant at the time of his death, and Frank Hand never saw his daughter, who is now aged 26 and works as a doctor.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that the issue of victims was "very legitimate" and needed to be "sorted out". And he said that although the experiences of victims had been raised in the North for years, more work needed to be done here.

Irish Independent

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