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Is SDLP leader saying violence can be acceptable?

Published 07/01/2016

New Year message, the new leader of the SDLP, Colum Eastwood, says that all those who died in 1916 at the GPO and the Somme deserve respectful remembrance. He goes on to say: "In essence, the Rising and its aftermath were a proclamation of faith that the Irish people have the right and the freedom to govern and shape our own destiny."

The SDLP have long declared they are opposed to violence and there is no justification for it - nor was there ever any.

Maybe Colum didn't read the history books, but the Easter Rising was an armed rebellion, fought with artillery, gunboats and rifles. Yet the SDLP seems ready to jump on the bandwagon for political expediency in honouring the people who fought in the battle.

Is Colum Eastwood - as the new leader of the SDLP - agreeing that violence is acceptable in certain circumstances and that people have the right to use armed struggle for the right and the freedom to govern and shape their own destiny?

Colum states he has "new ideas" for the SDLP, yet so far we have only seen the same old attempt to have two positions of claiming to oppose violence while attempting to cash in on the celebrations of one of the most violent weeks in Irish history.

You can't have both, Colum, so please clarify: will you be glorifying armed struggle, or maintaining the SDLP position of opposing it?

MELISSA KAVANAGH

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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