Belfast Telegraph

Fury as TD accuses authorities over prison officer David Black's murder

Unionists have reacted with fury after a leading Irish politician suggested that the authorities were to blame for the murder of a prison officer.

David Black, a prison officer at HMP Maghaberry, was shot dead by dissident republicans as he drove to work in November 2012.

Speaking in the Dail, Eamon O Cuiv – a grandson of former Irish president Eamon de Valera – said: "David Black was murdered because of the refusal on the part of people in authority to deal with the issues that resulted in a dirty protest that last 18 months. You can see the cause and effect."

Despite referring to Mr Black as "a decent and honest prison officer", the words have caused unionist outrage, who accused Mr O Cuiv of justifying terrorism.

DUP MEP Diane Dodds said Mr O Cuiv's comments were "quite disgraceful".

"The terrorists who carried out this cold-blooded crime are responsible for it, and no one else. David Black was murdered because there are those in Northern Ireland who believe that terrorism can be justified and it is shameful that Mr O Cuiv appears to be giving that some credence," she said.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt described the remarks as "shocking, offensive and incredibly insensitive".

Mr O Cuiv told the Sunday Times it would be "foolish to ignore a contributory issue". But he also said: "Of course the terrorists are responsible, I am not taking any responsibility away from the people who pulled the trigger."

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