Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Palestine official invited to Fermanagh hunger strike event

A mural on the Falls Road in Belfast calling for the 'Immediate expulsion of all Israeli diplomats from Eire'

Palestinian officials have yet to decide on whether their ambassador to Ireland will attend a republican hunger strike commemoration parade in Fermanagh this weekend.

The officials at the Mission of the State of Palestine in Dublin said that the proposed visit by Ahmad Abdelrazek remains undecided on the same day Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew said he will speak to a crowd of 10,000 people in Derrylin on Sunday.

Sinn Fein's announcement that the leading Palestinian political figure will speak in Derrylin has led to a fresh row and added fuel to controversy sparked by the parade.

The DUP's Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Lord Morrow said the whole event should be cancelled.

He added: "It is a sad reflection that the Palestinian ambassasdor is now prepared to join with Sinn Fein in the further glorification of terrorism.

"I still stand by my call that this event is not a celebration of politics, it is a glorification, a celebration, of Provisional IRA terrorists."

Fermanagh and South Tyrone Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott said he was surprised.

"Obviously these people being commemorated were terrorists," he said.

"I'm surprised he's aligning himself with such an issue."

Meanwhile, unionists have reacted angrily to a tweet from Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly claiming they are affronted by "all things republican".

"Apparently it is an 'affront' to unionists to remember Bobby Sands – Fermanagh MP," he said.

"Truth is unionists are 'affronted' by all things republican."

Mr Elliott added: "Actually, it is the celebration of terrorists and criminality we are affronted by."

Background

This Sunday's commemoration could bring up to 10,000 people to the Derrylin area to commemorate the hunger strikers. Unionists say the republican parade is an insult to Protestants killed in the area by the IRA. Sinn Fein says it has the right to hold a dignified event. In Northern Ireland in recent weeks there have been several demonstrations on the streets with republicans holding white-line pickets in solidarity with Palestinians.

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