Belfast Telegraph

Video: Anderson's tiocfaidh ar la call in 'stark contrast' to dignity of innocent victims, says Diane Dodds

Martina Anderson MEP was the guest speaker at the National Hunger Strike commemoration held in Strabane.
Martina Anderson MEP was the guest speaker at the National Hunger Strike commemoration held in Strabane.

The UUP MLA Doug Beattie has said that Sinn Fein will not lead Northern Ireland backwards after the Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said the British government's days in Ireland "are numbered".

"What utter rhetorical garbage," he said, posting on Twitter.

"It’s a SF message that echoes a time they supported bombs on our roads & bridges, when ppl [sic] were used as disposable commodities, driving a wedge between communities to line their pockets.

"You’ll not lead us backwards with your scavenger policies.

Ms Anderson was speaking at the National Hunger Strike Commemoration in Strabane, where she added "tiocfaidh ar la" to the thousands assembled there.

The march took place on Sunday to commemorate the ten men who died on hunger strike in 1981 at the Maze, as well as those who died at Parkhurst and Wakefield prisons.

It was held in Strabane in Co Tyrone for the first time, with assembled marchers making their way from Lifford in Co Donegal bearing placards with images of those who died.

Gerry Adams attended the march, as did Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and the party's leader in the north, Michelle O'Neill.

Speaking after dancing with a friend before getting up on stage, Martina Anderson said: "As the protesting women, as the hunger strikers proclaimed in the face of all that pointless British brutality, above which we rose with such dignity, tiocfaidh ar la."

DUP MEP Diane Dodds said: “Sinn Fein sends a mixed message to the next generation.  From one side of their mouth they say ‘bombers in 2019 are bad” but at the same time speak from the other side to say “bombers in 1972 were good”.

"Their eulogies of people who believed in, and in some cases were convicted of, terrorism stands in stark contrast to the dignity of innocent victims who lost loved ones as a result of bombs and bullets," said Mr Dodds.

"Whilst Martina Anderson danced in Strabane to celebrate republican terrorism, what thought was given to the family of five-month old Alan Jack? He was killed by a PIRA bomb in those same streets in 1972.

"We will always challenge those who would rewrite these tragedies as anything other than cold-blooded, unjustifiable murder. There was never an excuse for violence and the DUP will not allow the brave and professional actions of our security forces to be used as the vehicle for blatant revisionism by republicans.”

Doug Beattie MLA
Doug Beattie MLA

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