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Sinn Fein trying to hijack the history of Ireland, claims Tanaiste Burton

By Niall O'Connor and Emma Jane Hade

Published 18/09/2015

Claim: Joan Burton
Claim: Joan Burton

One of the most senior politicians in the Republic has accused Sinn Fein of seeking to "hijack the history of our country" in an attempt to "explain away" the IRA's campaign of violence.

In one of the most blistering attacks on Sinn Fein by a senior coalition figure, Tanaiste Joan Burton lashed out at the party's attempts to take control of 1916 commemorations.

Gerry Adams's party had "precious little to do with the events of 1916" and is now trying to produce a "deliberate distortion of history", Ms Burton said.

"But it's more than that. They are seeking to hijack the history of the country so as to explain away the IRA's campaign of sectarian violence and the subsequent criminality it spawned," she said.

"Frankly, many in Sinn Fein still struggle to accept the legitimacy of the State, while at the same time they tell us that they want to govern it. We should see all of this for what it is. It is part self-delusion and part hypocrisy," Ms Burton added.

The Tanaiste made the remarks at the launch of the Labour Party 1916 Centenary Commemoration Exhibition in Cork.

"The fact that Sinn Fein is choosing to mount its own particular commemorative events is a timely reminder of the arcane and mendacious theology of that party," Ms Burton said.

In a separate address in Dublin, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams accused the Government of having a "partitionist mindset" which is limited to 26 counties.

"A recent and perhaps frivolous example of this was Labour Minister Aodhan O Riordain tweeting his annoyance at the branding of a chicken product from Tyrone as 'Irish'. He was protesting that this should be sold here," the Louth TD said.

Mr Adams also insisted that the conflict is over.

"Victims and survivors of the of the conflict... must be given the strongest possible support and assistance," he said.

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