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Gerry Adams court ruling will cause 'anger and bewilderment' to IRA's victims, say unionist politicians

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Dismay: Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken

Dismay: Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken

DUP MP Gregory Campbell

DUP MP Gregory Campbell

Jim Allister, leader of the TUV party

Jim Allister, leader of the TUV party

Dismay: Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken

Unionist politicians have said the Supreme Court's decision to quash Gerry Adams' convictions will cause "anger and bewilderment" for IRA victims.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court said convictions against the former Sinn Fein president for two attempts to escape prison in the 1970s were unlawful.

He had been detained without trial under the policy of internment, used for those suspected of terrorist offences, and the two convictions were his only charges during the Troubles.

Mr Adams has consistently denied being a member of the IRA, and has now called on the British Government to identify other internees who were imprisoned unlawfully.

Reacting to the decision, the Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken said: "Once again IRA victims will be left dismayed and angry by a judicial decision as Gerry Adams continues to lead what can only be described as a peculiarly charmed life at the hands of the British State."

Mr Aiken criticised Mr Adams' description of internment as "a blunt and brutal piece of coercive legislation", saying that "he spent more than 30 years as the public face of Sinn Fein, regularly speaking on behalf of the IRA, refusing to condemn their actions, and playing a prominent role at the funeral services of numerous psychopaths and mass murderers".

He continued: "Mr Adams is able to go into a British court more than 40 years later and seek legal redress before getting off on a technicality.

"That is a lot more than hundreds of victims of the IRA are able to do."

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DUP MP Gregory Campbell

DUP MP Gregory Campbell

DUP MP Gregory Campbell

The DUP MP Gregory Campbell said that he accepted the judgment from the Supreme Court but said that it could not rewrite history.

He said: "Whatever this ruling might mean for Gerry Adams ... the one thing no court can undo is the torment, heartache, bloodshed and broken homes caused by the Provisional IRA in the 1970s.

"Mr Adams denies being a member of that organisation yet chooses not to condemn the many acts of savagery carried out by its Belfast Brigade, whether that was the disappearance of Jean McConville or the inferno at the La Mon Hotel."

He added: "It will take more than a Supreme Court judgment to rewrite the history books about Gerry Adams and his infamous memory loss about incidents during that era".

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Jim Allister, leader of the TUV party

Jim Allister, leader of the TUV party

Jim Allister, leader of the TUV party

The TUV leader Jim Allister said: "In contrast with the countless innocent victims of the IRA, who never enjoyed a right of appeal against the summary decision of the IRA to murder them, Gerry Adams benefits from appeal to the British legal system whose judges the Provos brutally murdered. No right to life for IRA victims, but a right of appeal for Adams."

He said justice "in any court this side of eternity" was still denied the vast majority of IRA victims.

"Today my thoughts are with those victims who will doubtless feel aggrieved at the failure of the state to fulfil its responsibility to them while facilitating Adams, a man who continues to justify and defend the murder of their loved ones".

Belfast Telegraph