Belfast Telegraph

Time to condemn IRA terror attacks, families tell Corbyn

Letter: Jeremy Corbyn
Letter: Jeremy Corbyn

By Staff Reporter

Relatives of almost 40 victims of IRA terrorism have sent an open letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accusing him of "giving succour" to the IRA, and calling on him to apologise.

The letter coincides with the 35th anniversary of the IRA's bombing of the Conservative party's 1984 annual conference at the Grand Hotel in Brighton.

Five people were killed, including Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry.

A further 31 people were injured in the attempt to murder the Cabinet, including Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

"This was an attack designed to wipe out a government and strike at the very heart of our democracy," the letter published in yesterday's Sunday Times says.

Among the 38 signatories are relatives of people killed in IRA attacks across the UK, including at Enniskillen, Belfast, Warrington and Hyde Park in London.

"Communities right across the UK, from Enniskillen to London and Manchester, are forever scarred and families forever broken by the IRA's murderous attacks. No amount of time can restore what is lost when a bomb is detonated or a bullet is fired," the letter states.

"Many politicians on all sides have worked tirelessly to secure and sustain peace in Northern Ireland, and have unequivocally condemned the IRA's acts of terror.

"Yet when asked to condemn the IRA's terror campaign, Jeremy Corbyn refused to do so."

It ends by calling for an apology from the Labour leader. "Mr Corbyn says he is a man of peace.

"He wants people across the UK to elect him to lead our country.

"The rule of law, not the pursuit of violence, is the foundation of our democracy .

"True leadership means putting aside your own prejudices and working for the benefit of all, not advancing the cause of some.

"The peace in Northern Ireland is built on this principle.

"So we urge Mr Corbyn now, 35 years on from that assault on our democracy, to directly and unequivocally condemn the IRA's murderous attacks.

"And we ask him to apologise for a career spent giving succour to violent republicanism when he should have been denouncing it," the letter adds.

A spokesman for the Labour Party responded, saying: "Jeremy has made it absolutely clear that he didn't and doesn't support the IRA, and that what he always wants is to work for peace and respect for human rights.

"He has also spoken about how the peace process in Northern Ireland has been a model for other countries trying to bring divided communities together on the basis of recognising different traditions."

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