IRA souvenirs sell well in McDonald HQ
IRA souvenirs are among the best-selling items from Sinn Fein MEP Mary-Lou McDonald's campaign headquarters.
Sinn Fein is coming under fire in the European election campaign over its stance on the murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe and the continued existence of the IRA Army Council.
However, the party is still selling IRA memorabilia from its shop in Dublin.
The Sinn Fein Store is located at the party's headquarters in Dublin on Parnell Square, which is adorned by a 30-foot high banner of Ms McDonald and her literature is displayed at the entrance to the shop.
One of the best-selling items from the shop is a black T-shirt with a picture of three armed paramilitaries in full battle fatigues and trademark balaclavas with the slogan: "IRA Undefeated Army".
Sinn Fein describes it as: "A tribute to the men and women who led the struggle against British occupation of Ireland."
The IRA memorabilia on sale also includes mugs, mouse pads and lapel pins in the shape of a Kalashnikov rifle with the words: "Tiocfaidh Ar La".
Defence Minister Willie O'Dea last night said Sinn Fein was trying to appeal to people who thought violence was acceptable.
"It's outrageous. They are trying to speak out of both sides of their mouth," he said.
"They are trying to pose as a respectable political party and also saying violence is sexy. They have shown nothing but contempt for the McCabe family."
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams yesterday tried to distance the party's new generation of candidates, like Ms McDonald and Toireasa Ferris, from the party's past.
After Ms Ferris refused to condemn the killing of Det Garda McCabe last week, Mr Adams yesterday said he condemned the murder.
Defending the sale of the IRA merchandise, Mr Adams said nobody had raised the merchandise in the Sinn Fein shop with him on the campaign trail.
"There are some people who believe that the IRA did the right thing. Here, in this city, we are outside the Garden of Remembrance to the IRA of 1916, or in more turbulent times in the North.
"But particularly people appreciate that when the Sinn Fein leadership came forward with an alternative that the IRA embraced that."
He added: "Now I've been on the doorsteps here for close on three weeks. People have raised with me the fact they are either out of work or fear being out of work. They have raised with me the possibility of their houses being repossessed.
"Everywhere people have talked about children being educated in prefabs -- none of them talked about the merchandise on sale in the Sinn Fein bookstore."