Wednesday 25 April 2018

Taoiseach calls for Senator's resignation after controversial retweet as he accuses Sinn Fein of 'glorifying violence'

Senator Máire Devine (Image via Oireachtas.ie)
Senator Máire Devine (Image via Oireachtas.ie)

Shona Murray

The Taoiseach has called on Sinn Fein Senator Maire Devine to resign following her Twitter tirade with the son of murdered prison officer Brian Stack.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also accused Sinn Fein of continuing to “glorify violence” after Ms Devine retweeted an account referring to Brian Stack as a “sadist prison officer”.

She was suspended from the party for three months on full pay and has since apologised.

“I see an inconsistency in that someone in the north has to resign their seat and another person only gets three month suspension on full pay, so I call on Sinn Fein to reconsider that decision” the Taoiseach said in Berlin.

Mr Varadkar said Senator Devine’s conduct was “worse” than the actions of former Sinn Fein MP, Barry McElduff who was forced to resign after he offended victims of the Kingsmill massacre.

“It seems that what Senator Devine did was as bad if not even worse" than Barry McElduff, he said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Not only did she disrespect the memory of someone who was a victim of paramilitary violence she also didn’t take it back and continued to engage in it”, he said.

Ms Devine subsequently engaged in a twitter row with Mr Stack’s son, Austin Stack who had stepped in to condemn her.

Former MP Barry McElduff caused huge distress to victims of the Kingsmill massacre when he posted a photograph of himself with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on the anniversary of the attack.

The Taoiseach took a swipe at Mary Lou McDonald’s leadership of Sinn Fein.

“It does create a real concern that despite a change at the top in Sinn Fein, there hasn’t really been a change in attitudes and they still glorify violence and I find that very difficult.”

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