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McDonnell 'has to do more over honouring IRA apology': Nigel Dodds

Published 18/09/2015

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said John McDonnell's apology for suggesting the IRA should be honoured for its role in the Troubles does not go far enough.

The new shadow chancellor, at a gathering in London in 2003 to commemorate IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, said that "the bombs and bullets and sacrifice" of the IRA had brought Britain to the negotiating table.

David Cameron said those trying to justify terrorism should be "ashamed" of themselves when the issue was raised during Jeremy Corbyn's first session of Prime Minister's Questions as opposition leader.

The Labour MP apologised "from the bottom of my heart" for the offence caused - but went on to suggest his comments may have helped the peace process.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the politician's attempts to justify his comments undermined his apology.

He said: "That John McDonnell attempts even now to justify his words undermines his expression of regret and suggests tactical and presentational considerations.

"He is now suggesting that he used words that he didn't believe in order to persuade republicans to give up violence. That is not credible.

"John McDonnell needs to be honest and not merely to say sorry but to mean it. He needs to understand why the thousands of innocent victims of terrorism were so disgusted by what he said and who he supported.

"He has been dragged by entirely justified public outrage to address his obnoxious remarks only once they were brought to general attention.

"He still has more to do."

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