Belfast Telegraph

Criticism of Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich's SF stance

By Staff Reporter

Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich, one of the most colourful leaders of the Irish Catholic Church during the past century, ran into choppy political waters 30 years ago - because of his attitude towards Sinn Fein.

Asked about party membership, he said: "If a person joins as an act of support for the violent activities of the Provisional IRA then, in my view, that is morally wrong.

"But, if they join for positive reasons - because of Sinn Fein's involvement in housing, or improving the environment, and these outweighed the interpretation that membership might be seen as condoning support for violence - it might be morally justified."

This prompted what was interpreted as a rebuke from Garret FitzGerald's government in a statement pointedly highlighted Sinn Fein's open "support for a campaign of murder".

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