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Sinn Fein should recognise there is no difference between the IRA and Islamic terrorists' barbarity

My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to those victims of the barbaric terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday. Manchester has, unfortunately, been here before at the hands of IRA/republican terrorists. We know only too well the impact of such terrorism.

It is important that we as a United Kingdom stand together to oppose such barbarism. It is for this reason candidates and political parties suspended campaigning ahead of the General Election on June 8.

As someone born and brought up in Northern Ireland, similar tragedies were a frequent occurrence. It, therefore, seems ironic for the leaders of Sinn Fein to be able to condemn such an atrocity. The IRA were responsible for bomb attacks in 1992 and 1996 in Manchester. No such condemnation was uttered then.

The Poppy Day bombing in Enniskillen in 1987 sticks in my mind. But also, the Tullyhommon bomb that same day that didn't explode.

There the IRA targeted a generation of Protestant children from youth groups. At that time, I was in the Boys' Brigade and attending remembrance parades myself and the sheer barbarism and inhumanity of these terrorist attacks was - and still is - haunting.

There is no difference between the IRA and Islamic terrorists. Both oppose "imperialism" and call on the withdrawal of the forces of Britain from places like Afghanistan. Both organisations have narrow and nationalistic agendas.

The only difference is that Isis haven't adopted the strategy of the ballot box - yet.

CLLR RICHARD HOLMES

UUP candidate for East Londonderry

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