Wednesday 17 October 2018

Sinn Féin sparks fury at 'appalling' office sign honouring IRA terrorists

Mary Lou McDonald opened the office used by Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard in Castlewellan, Co Down, last month
Mary Lou McDonald opened the office used by Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard in Castlewellan, Co Down, last month

Rebecca Black and Cormac McQuinn

Sinn Féin has sparked fury after a sign honouring two IRA terrorists was erected at an office opened by Mary Lou McDonald.

The new sign, dedicated to dead IRA men Peter McNulty and Paul Magorrian, has been installed at the office used by Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard in Castlewellan, Co Down.

The decision to put up the 'McNulty-Magorrian Advice Centre' sign has been criticised by IRA victims and was described as "appalling" by DUP MLA Jim Wells.

Ms McDonald was on hand to cut the ribbon at the office last month. She attended a wreath-laying ceremony for Mr McNulty on the same day.

She posted a picture of the opening ceremony on Twitter saying: "Remembering the past, looking forward to the future."

Peter McNulty was killed in a premature bomb explosion during an attack on an RUC base in 1972. Paul Magorrian (21) was shot dead by the British army in 1974.

Sammy Heenan, whose father William (51) was murdered in 1985 outside his home near Castlewellan, said he was disgusted at the sign at the office.

Sandra Harrison, whose brother was killed by the IRA 30 years ago, said: "We feel like our noses are being rubbed in it.

"We are being reminded again and again every time we drive past that centre about the terrorists."

Sinn Féin said the Castlewellan office, now being used by Mr Hazzard, has been named after Mr McNulty and Mr Magorrian for 25 years.

The Irish Independent sought comment from Ms McDonald asking for her view on the office being named after two IRA members.

A spokesman said that she was in London, but referred to her speech earlier this month when she assumed the Sinn Féin leadership. He said: "As Mary Lou McDonald said in her inaugural speech as Uachtarán Shinn Féin, everybody has the right to remember their dead.

"We must respect the right of our political opponents to remember their dead but republicans have that right too and that should be respected also."

Ms McDonald faced criticism from politicians on both sides of the Border after closing that speech with the phrase 'tiocfaidh ár lá', a slogan long-associated with the Provisional IRA.

Ms McDonald was in London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the current impasse in the talks to restore the Northern Ireland Executive.

Irish Independent

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