Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's McDonald urged to act on Maskey's 'putrid statelet' justification for IRA acts

by suzanne breen political editor

THE DUP is calling on Sinn Fein president-elect Mary Lou McDonald to "demonstrate leadership" and take action against Alex Maskey for a controversial post that it claims appears to "justify terrorism".

The West Belfast MLA tweeted: "Unfortunately it took more than the CRA (Civil Rights Association) to secure rights in the putrid little statelet NI."

His comment was posted in response to an unrelated tweet by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

Mr Maskey's tweet has been condemned by the UUP, SDLP and TUV. But the Sinn Fein MLA last night hit back at his critics, accusing them of "faux outrage" and saying that peaceful civil rights demonstrators had been beaten off the streets here.

South Belfast DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly said: "Alex Maskey's description of Northern Ireland as a 'putrid little statelet' exemplifies a continued attitude of disrespect within Sinn Fein. This is all the more offensive as the reference is within a tweet appearing to justify terrorism.

"Time and time again we see Sinn Fein representatives demanding standards from others which they are unwilling to uphold themselves. We are entitled to know whether such comments are representative of Mary Lou McDonald's view when she talks about 'unionist brothers and sisters'."

Ms Little-Pengelly said people were questioning whether Ms McDonald and Sinn Fein deputy president-elect Michelle O'Neill were "either unwilling or unable to take action and demonstrate leadership".

Last night Mr Eastwood said: "The only thing achieved by violence was the hardening of hearts and the filling of graves. That reality might be uncomfortable for people like Alex Maskey and Sinn Fein but it is a truth that can't be unwritten or rewritten.

"The Civil Rights Association achieved more in 18 months than all the years of violence that followed.

"I would suggest that finally getting government up and running again would be a better use of Alex's time instead of constantly posting Twitter attacks on the SDLP."

UUP MLA Doug Beattie branded Mr Maskey's tweet "absolute offensive rubbish" and said Sinn Fein didn't know the meaning of the word "respect".

He claimed that the words "it took more than the CRA" could be categorised as "the IRA was justified in burning people alive, kidnapping, torturing and murdering innocent Protestants and Catholics".

He added: "Let us be absolutely clear.

"We could have got to where we are today without the murder of a single person, let alone almost 3,600 men, women and children."

TUV leader Jim Allister said: "The many victims of IRA terrorism will be in no doubt as to what Maskey was referring to.

"Those unionists who today are engaged in talks with Sinn Fein/IRA would do well to reflect upon the fact that republicans are openly boasting of how far the IRA campaign of bombing and shooting got them.

"Thirty years of terror. Hundreds dead. Thousands injured.

"No respect for the most fundamental of human rights, the right to life. But it is all all right. Because Alex Maskey got his 'rights'."

In his statement last night, Mr Maskey said Northern Ireland had been "a unionist-dominated apartheid state, founded on religious and civil discrimination and which denied citizens fundamental rights such as the right to vote".

He added: "Peaceful civil rights demonstrators were beaten off the streets in an effort to crush the demands for civil and human rights, Special Powers were used to suppress protest, and the state forces played an active role in sectarian progroms of the 1920s, 1930s and 1960s.

"The Unionist Party presided over all of that.

"Faux outrage by some unionists at my comments ignore the facts that a wide range of people from the Civil Rights Association right through to progressive unionists opposed this sectarian discrimination and demanded civil and human rights for all."

Belfast Telegraph

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