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Sinn Féin's Cullinane defends 'Up the Ra' rally video

  

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David Cullinane of Sinn Féin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

David Cullinane of Sinn Féin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

David Cullinane of Sinn Féin. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Senior Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane has defended saying "up the RA" at an event marking his re-election to the Dáil.

In a video from a post-­election rally, Mr Cullinane said: "Up the Republic, Up the 'Ra. Tiocfaidh ár lá."

Mr Cullinane was addressing party supporters after being re-elected to the Dáil for a third term.

Before he made the comments, he praised IRA hunger striker Kevin Lynch who ran as a candidate in Waterford while being imprisoned in the North.

Mr Cullinane said yesterday he never distanced himself from the IRA or the hunger strikers since entering politics.

"I'm never one who will distance myself from Sinn Féin's past, or the IRA's past," he told Today FM.

"I don't agree with everything the IRA did. Do I think Martin McGuinness was wrong to join the IRA? No I don't.

"The bottom line is that the IRA is gone, it doesn't mean we don't celebrate or commemorate those volunteers."

Mr Cullinane is Sinn Féin's climate change spokesperson and previously held the party's Brexit portfolio.

The Waterford TD was elected on Sunday with more than 20,000 first-preference votes.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she had not seen the video and insisted it was for Mr Cullinane to explain his comments.

"I don't know the context of what the singing of that was, it must be 'Celtic Symphony' or some such," she added.

Ms McDonald was criticised when she said "Tiocfaidh ár lá" at the end of her maiden speech as Sinn Féin leader.

She has always insisted the Provisional IRA no longer exists. She has also said she answers to no one in Belfast.

During the election campaign, she was forced to defend her allegiance to the Sinn Féin ard chomhairle.

All Sinn Féin party candidates are required to sign a pledge saying they will be guided by and amenable to all directions and instructions issued to them by the ard chomhairle.

Irish Independent