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Probe into dissident's comments welcomed

By Liam Clarke

Published 16/04/2015

Controversy: Dee Fennell
Controversy: Dee Fennell

Unionists have welcomed a decision by the PSNI to investigate calls by a prominent republican for "armed struggle" as a "legitimate" part of a struggle against British rule.

Dee Fennell is a leading member of Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective, a hardline protest group that opposes loyalist parades, but which is also opposed by Sinn Fein.

His comments came at an Easter Sunday commemoration in Lurgan.

He ridiculed Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness for shaking hands with the Queen, saying that "the only greeting the IRA gave to the Royal Family was delivered on a boat off the coast of Sligo."

This was a reference to the murder of the Queen's cousin Lord Mountbatten in 1979.

Mr Fennell stated "armed struggle must be a contributory factor to a wider struggle" and "armed struggle, in 2015, remains a legitimate act of resistance".

Upper Bann UUP candidate Jo Anne Dobson, and David Simpson the sitting DUP MP, both called for Cat Seeley, their Sinn Fein opponent to condemn the comments.

Sinn Fein distanced itself from Mr Fennell's comments, saying the party had no input. It would not comment in more detail because there was a police investigation.

Mr Simpson said: "Clearly Ms Seeley has some difficulty deciding whether she wants to alienate the republican base or the more moderate votes Sinn Fein have been actively pursing in Upper Bann."

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