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Sinn Féin needs to ‘deal with’ ongoing attempt to justify IRA violence, says Taoiseach Micheál Martin

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin pictured at the launch the North East Inner City Initiative Progress Report 2022 (Pic: Colin Keegan, Collins)

Taoiseach Micheál Martin pictured at the launch the North East Inner City Initiative Progress Report 2022 (Pic: Colin Keegan, Collins)

Taoiseach Micheál Martin pictured at the launch the North East Inner City Initiative Progress Report 2022 (Pic: Colin Keegan, Collins)

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said Sinn Féin should “deal with” its attempts to justify 30 years of IRA violence.

Mr Martin has said the party has made an “ongoing attempt” to justify decades of violence and said its calls for a border poll are a “tactic”.

“For a considerable period of time, I’ve highlighted the issues that I think Sinn Féin needs to deal with. In particular, the ongoing attempt to justify the past, justify the 30 years of violence and some terrible atrocities,” he said.

“Sinn Féin will sometimes rightly identify some areas on the legacy that need redress and to be dealt with by the British government.

“But it also needs to deal with issues.”

Mary Lou McDonald said in recent weeks there is “no comparison” between gangland and IRA violence during the Troubles.

Mr Martin said there also should be more supports for young people in Northern Ireland who are traumatised as a result of IRA violence.

“The trauma visited upon the younger generation in the North, younger people whose knees were kneecapped in so called punishment beatings,” he said.

“When you reflect on the physical and emotional trauma visited on a lot of young people in the North, but no one ever hears of any attempt to reconcile or reach out or atone and say ‘that was wrong’.”

Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald has often said there will be a border poll by the end of the decade.

Mr Martin described this as a political tactic and said he’s more concerned about the “substance” of the issues, such as the health service and maintaining peace.

“That’s more about tactics and the campaign that certain parties have sort of grabbed and said, ‘We must have this within five years or else’.

“It’s a good campaign and it’s good at a certain level but it doesn’t change a whole lot.”

Mr Martin was speaking after giving a keynote address at the Shared Island Forum in Dublin Castle.

The Government has also announced over €50m in funding for Shared Island programmes, including €11m for all-island biodiversity measures on peatlands restoration and €7.6m for new all-island tourism marketing initiatives.

Separately, researchers from Trinity College Dublin will explore the impact of non-fatal drug overdoses on communities in north inner city Dublin.

Researchers will develop recommendations on how non fatal overdoses can be treated and prevented in an effort to combat drug deaths in “real time”.

Mr Martin launched a progress report on north east inner city Dublin, which states the study will finish in the springtime.

“A too familiar feature of drug use in the north east inner city is the high number of drug-related deaths and the resulting impact this has on the families of the bereaved and the wider community.”

‘Anti-stigma’ training to prevent negative connotations around drug use and addiction have also been taking place in the area “so that people with experience of drug use can avail of the services they require in a fair and equal manner”.


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