independent

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Family silence after Sinn Féin apologies

Maria Pepper

Published 11/02/2014 | 05:42

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THE family of Detective Garda Seamus Quaid has not responded to apologies issued by two senior Sinn Féin figures during the party's Ard Fheis in Wexford at the weekend.

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The family of Detective Garda Seamus Quaid has not responded to apologies issued by two senior Sinn Féin figures during the party's Ard Fheis in Wexford at the weekend.

'I don't want to get involved in a war of words with Sinn Féin,' said Eamonn Quaid, a son of the Garda who was shot dead by IRA man Peter Rogers at Ballyconnick Quarry in 1980.

Eamonn, who was just 14 years old when his father was killed, declined to comment on public apologies by both Sinn Féin vice president Mary Lou McDonald and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.

The Quaid family had asked for a plaque with the murdered detective's name on it to be removed from the Opera House during the Ard Fheis.

Sinn Féin vice-president Mary Lou McDonald apologised to the family after she attended a civic reception in the Opera House last Thursday. She said she completely understood the Quaid family's feelings of respect for their late father.

Sinn Féin had no communication from the family but if they were mindful to make contact Sinn Féin would be more than happy to meet them, although she would understand if they had no desire to do so.

She said Sinn Féin had a position of absolute respect and regret for for the grief of families who suffered a grievious loss during the conflict. Asked if she apologised to the Quaid family, she said, 'Yes, unreservedly.'

Martin McGuinness said Garda Quaid was an innocent victim and 'it's absolutely appropriate that Republicans should apologise for what happened to him and apologise directly to his family.'

He said he was willing to meet Garda Quaid's family. 'From our perspective, we recognise there was a very long conflict on the island, specifically in the North and people south of the border were also affected by it.

'And I think it's appropriate that where people lost their lives, apologies should be made, apologies have been made and I think they're heartfelt.'

When contacted about the statements, Eamonn Quaid said the plaque removal was arranged as a private protest by the family.

'It was only meant to be between myself and the Opera House, as a private protest.'

He said it 'escalated' after a national newspaper found out about it.

He said he was aware of the apologies but did not wish to get involved in 'any kind of conversation or war of words with Sinn Féin. I'm leaving it at that.'

The Mayor of Wexford Cllr. George Lawlor hosted a civic reception for Sinn Féin representatives in the Opera House on Thursday afternoon.

Wexford People

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