Monday 26 February 2018

Spirit of IRA dead always with us, says Sinn Féin MP

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Foyle MP Elisha McCallion. Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

Leona O'Neill

A new Sinn Féin MP has caused outrage after stating the spirit and memory of dead IRA volunteers is with her and her party colleagues in "every meeting and every engagement" at Stormont, Westminster, the European Parliament and Dáil Éireann.

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion was speaking at the Annual Derry Volunteers Commemoration, which saw hundreds of republicans gather at the city cemetery to pay tribute to IRA volunteers.

Mrs McCallion said she "remembered with pride the huge contribution they made in our struggle" and that their "dedication, courage and their sacrifice is an inspiration to us and certainly to me".

It came just a day after Gerry Adams told a Sinn Féin conference that republicans needed to "embrace" a new approach to unionism "and of the positive contribution they have made to society".

Mrs McCallion said republicans have been on a long journey to a final destination, to realise a republic and a society for which "our great friends died".

She said republicans "carry their memory and their inspiration with us each and every step of the way as we continue on in our struggle".

She also remembered Martin McGuinness as a "freedom fighter" who "fought for justice and equality".

She admitted there were political challenges ahead on the road but said republicans would draw strength and inspiration from the memories of the dead IRA volunteers and carried their ­spirit and memories with them.

"We as republicans are up for those challenges," she said. "And just like the volunteers we remember here today, we will not shy away from our efforts.

"We will continue to oppose austerity in the North and south, to oppose Tory Brexit agendas. We are opposed to borders, hard or soft, and we will continue to work tirelessly for Irish unity."

Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said Mrs McCallion's rhetoric did nothing for the peace process and questioned if every time Sinn Féin met with British Prime Minister Theresa May they are "bringing a murderous spirit".

"The memory and spirit of the IRA for tens of thousands of victims is one of bloodshed and murder. And I really do think it is time that Sinn Féin moved on from their violent past," he said.

Irish Independent

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