Editorial: SF seeks credibility - 'celebrating' Hyde Park case is no way to get it
Published 28/02/2014 | 02:30
SINN Fein wants desperately to be taken seriously as a mainstream political party, in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Why then does it go and shoot itself in the foot by organising a 'celebratory homecoming' for John Downey, the man charged with the Hyde Park bombing, which killed four and whose trial collapsed in London this week because of a letter mistakenly given to him assuring him of immunity from prosecution?
It is hard to square this kind of 'celebration' with the parliamentary efforts of some Sinn Fein politicians who have earned a certain respect in Dublin and Belfast, even from those who abhor those members who relentlessly pursued the 'armalite and ballot box' strategy once favoured by the party.
It is hard to disagree with the contention of Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kinahan, who said yesterday: "Sinn Fein really is rubbing salt into the emotional wounds of the family and friends of those who died on that terrible day in 1982."
With the political future of Northern Ireland threatened as a result of this abortive trial, years of painstaking work at bringing a modicum of political stability could be thrown away by this kind of 'mindless' behaviour.
What is there to celebrate? Mr Downey, from Donegal, may be acquitted in dubious circumstances, but someone in Sinn Fein/IRA committed this atrocity in Hyde Park against a ceremonial detachment of British soldiers.
Thankfully, most of us have moved on from those troubled times and all right-thinking people would be appalled that this, or any other atrocity carried out by any terrorist organisation, is worthy of a so-called celebration.