Belfast Telegraph

DUP accuses Michelle O'Neill of bid to 'whitewash history' with terror comments

By Staff Reporter

Michelle O'Neill has been blasted for opposing the "selective condemnation" of terrorist attacks - before issuing a statement condemning the weekend London atrocity.

Sinn Fein's Stormont leader has spoken out strongly against Islamist extremist attacks - but has lauded the IRA since she took on her leadership position. Ms O'Neill has condemned both the recent Manchester and London attacks - cities the IRA bombed on many occasions during the Troubles.

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The DUP's Sammy Wilson said republicans were trying to "whitewash their bloody history".

"They brought the same horror to the streets of London many times over the past decades, killing innocent shoppers, murdering tourists, and destroying property," he said.

"Even last week, before Saturday night's events, senior members of her party refused to condemn those who carried out such acts.

"Indeed, Sinn Fein condemned the imprisonment of those convicted on murder, negotiated letters of amnesty for them and O'Neill unashamedly celebrates them."

In an interview with the Sunday Business Post, Mrs O'Neill was asked what the difference was between the IRA's 1996 bombing of Manchester - the biggest bomb detonated in Britain since the Second World War - and the recent suicide bomb attack during an Ariana Grande concert in which 22 people died.

Ms O'Neill said: "What happened at the Manchester Arena was an atrocity, and I absolutely condemn it, and did so as soon as it happened."

She said it "unfortunate" that the Manchester Arena was being compared to the IRA's attacks on the city, adding: "I think it's important that we, as political leaders, don't get into the ground of selective condemnation."

She also said that "I just don't think it's helpful to get into the whole politics of condemnation because, as political leaders, we have to lead the way".

While declining to criticise the IRA in the interview, hours after it was published, Mrs O'Neill issued a statement that started: "The attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market were horrific and I condemn them."

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