Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Airey Neave jibe labelled 'reprehensible and repugnant' by DUP MP

Derry Republicans hold a protest in the Bogside area on Wednesday, on the day of Margaret Thatcher
Derry Republicans hold a protest in the Bogside area on Wednesday, on the day of Margaret Thatcher
Celebrations in Derry's Bogside on Wednesday night following the burial of Margaret Thatcher
Celebrations in Derry's Bogside on Wednesday night following the burial of Margaret Thatcher

The flaunting of a large banner denigrating Margaret Thatcher and her close friend Airey Neave at a demonstration held at Free Derry Corner on the day of the former Prime Minister's funeral has been described as "particularly reprehensible and repugnant".

The banner was at the centre of a lunchtime gathering, one of two events organised by dissident republicans in Londonderry to coincide with Mrs Thatcher's funeral.

Airey Neave, a Conservative MP and war hero, was murdered in 1979 by the INLA when a booby-trap car bomb exploded under his vehicle

His legs were blown off and he died in hospital an hour after being freed from the wreckage.

Many of those who were at yesterday's demonstration in the Bogside were carrying IRSP flags, the political wing of the INLA.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell slammed the reference to the death of Airey Neave and said it was offensive even to today's generation and those who have died in a similar fashion.

He said: "This is particularly reprehensible and repugnant given the context in which Airey Neave lost his life. Even in the context of today's generation it is relevant and therefore extremely offensive to both Protestants and Catholics when you remember the way in which two police officers, Ronan Kerr and Peadar Heffron, were killed and maimed in the same way as Airey Neave was killed. This will be the image that is shown, not just in Northern Ireland but across the rest of the UK and the world and there is now an onus on political and community leaders from the area to give their condemnation. I hope it will be unambiguous and unequivocal."

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