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Sinn Fein silent on IRA victims being branded 'wasters' in WhatsApp group

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Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis

Sinn Fein has refused to say if it investigated a WhatsApp group linked to one of its TDs in which families of IRA victims were labelled "wasters" giving "sob stories" to the media.

Details of the WhatsApp group first emerged in 2018 when The Sun newspaper reported that it had been set up using the phone of Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis and included party members.

In one conversation in February 2017, the possibility of a snap general election was being discussed when one user said it would result in the media being "on the phone to Cahill, Stack, Quinn et al and every other waster they can wheel out with a sob story".

The message is understood to refer to IRA sex abuse victim Mairia Cahill; Austin Stack, the son of a prison officer shot dead by the IRA in 1983; and the family of murder victim Paul Quinn.

Sinn Fein said in 2018, when details of the group emerged, that the messages were "completely ­unacceptable" and "a breach of our social media guidelines". However, the party did not respond to queries this week about what investigation, if any, was ever carried out.

Mr Ellis previously said he was "not on any WhatsApp group".

On Thursday, he said: "I don't want to deal with the media. I am in an election, can I talk to you again?" He then hung up his phone.

Ms Cahill - who called the comments "horrific and hurtful" - said she wanted to know if the group had been investigated, what the outcome of any probe was and if people involved were canvassing for Sinn Fein.

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