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DUP hit out at Sinn Fein eulogy for 'dangerous IRA killer' Seamus McElwain


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Seamus McElwain

Seamus McElwain

Seamus McElwain

An IRA man suspected of at least 10 killings and described as a continuing inspiration by a Sinn Fein TD last night was a dangerous killer "undoubtedly involved in a campaign of sectarian murder", the DUP has said.

Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy gave the keynote address at a commemoration for Provisional IRA man Séamus McElwain, who has been blamed by First Minister Arlene Foster for a near-fatal gun attack on her father.

McElwain was shot dead by the Army in 1986 as he tried to ambush a patrol near Roslea, Co Fermanagh.

"Séamus McElwain was only 26 years of age when he was killed in his own country by foreign occupying forces," Mr Carthy said.

"Séamus is still held in huge esteem, very fondly remembered by all who knew him and by a new generation of people from Co Monaghan and Fermanagh and by Irish republicans of all ages. Séamus and all of those who fought for Irish freedom continue to inspire us."

The commemoration was pre-recorded and broadcast on social media last night. It was called 'A celebration of the life of volunteer Séamus McElwain'.

In a post on Twitter, Carthy said the commemoration was "reflective, poignant and forward-looking".

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Address: Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy

Address: Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy

Address: Sinn Fein’s Matt Carthy

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McElwain was a member of the IRA's south Fermanagh brigade, and was previously linked to at least 10 murders.

These included the killings of off-duty UDR man Aubrey Abercrombie near Florencecourt, and Ernest Johnston, an off-duty RUC Reserve Constable, near Roslea, both in 1980.

On April 26, 1986, McElwain and Seán Lynch, now a Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA, had been preparing a huge landmine to ambush an Army patrol on the Lisnaskea to Roslea road. However, the SAS was waiting for them and opened fire on the pair, killing McElwain.

In a BBC interview five years ago, DUP leader Ms Foster said she believed McElwain attempted to murder her father, John Kelly, in 1979. The part-time policeman was shot in the head by the IRA at the family farm near Roslea, but he survived.

"McElwain was a notorious gunman," she said. "He was behind the murder and attempted murder of many Protestants along the Fermanagh border.

"I am led to believe that he was the man who came to murder my father. He is not someone to be remembered in any warm way."

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Attacked: Arlene Foster’s father John was shot in the head by IRA but survived

Attacked: Arlene Foster’s father John was shot in the head by IRA but survived

Attacked: Arlene Foster’s father John was shot in the head by IRA but survived

Yesterday, DUP Policing Board member Mervyn Storey said: "Seamus McElwain was described as a 'dangerous killer' by the judge at his trial and he was undoubtedly involved in the campaign of sectarian murder directed against the minority Protestant community along the Fermanagh border.

"This is the background of someone praised as a 'saint' by Martin McGuinness and still celebrated by Sinn Fein today.

"Within the last few days in Northern Ireland there has been widespread revulsion that terrorists would place the life of a child at risk in their despicable attempts to drag us back to the violence of the past.

"Sinn Fein however continue to justify the murder and terrorism those groups seek to emulate, including the deliberate murder of children."


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