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He should know better, says Narrow Water survivor over Sinn Fein TD's tweet hailing IRA ambush

Brian Stanley apologised for post

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The aftermath of the IRA double bomb attack that killed 18 soldiers at the historic site in 1979

The aftermath of the IRA double bomb attack that killed 18 soldiers at the historic site in 1979

Commemorative crosses placed at Narrow Water close to Warrenpoint (Niall Carson/PA)

Commemorative crosses placed at Narrow Water close to Warrenpoint (Niall Carson/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

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The aftermath of the IRA double bomb attack that killed 18 soldiers at the historic site in 1979

A soldier who survived the IRA Narrow Water massacre spoke of his disgust at at a Sinn Fein politician's comment on the 1979 atrocity.

Senior Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley was on Sunday night forced into an apology after posting a controversial tweet about the deaths of British soldiers in Ireland.

Mr Stanley, who chairs the Dail's Public Accounts Committee, posted to his 3,700 followers: "kilmicheal (sic) (1920) and narrow water (1979) the 2 IRA operations that taught the elite of (the) British army and the establishment the cost of occupying Ireland. Pity for everyone they were such slow learners."

Kilmichael in Co Cork was an IRA ambush in 1920 in which 17 Auxiliaries died, while 18 soldiers were killed in the Provo ambush at Narrow Water near Warrenpoint in 1979.

The tweet sparked outrage from IRA victims and unionist politicians.

First Minister Arlene Foster said she would be contacting the Speaker of the Irish Parliament about the comments.

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She said: "Although deleted, it is outrageous that someone with such warped views can hold a senior position in the Dail.

"Sinn Fein talk about respect and equality but there's not much sign of respect for victims."

Mr Stanley later deleted his tweet and said: "I apologise for the content of an inappropriate and insensitive tweet I sent yesterday."

On Sunday night a soldier who survived the Narrow Water massacre also told of his disgust at the republican politician's comment on the 1979 atrocity.

Tom Caughey was an 18-year-old Paratrooper travelling in an Army convoy from Ballykinler to Newry when an 800lb bomb in a parked trailer exploded, killing six soldiers

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The tweet by Brian Stanley. It was later deleted

The tweet by Brian Stanley. It was later deleted

The tweet by Brian Stanley. It was later deleted

Mr Caughey, who was severely injured, was being airlifted to hospital when a second bomb hidden in a gatehouse where troops sought cover was detonated, killing 12 more.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I am not shocked that this has come from Sinn Fein.

"What about attacks like the Enniskillen bomb, when people came to mourn the war dead? Was that also about reminding us about the cost?

"This is a party that speaks about respect and equality but where is it today?

"This man is in a position where he should know and say better than that."

Ulster Unionist justice spokesman Doug Beattie MLA said: "His comments confirm that there would be no place for those who identify as unionist or British in a United Ireland."

Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said: "For a Sinn Fein TD to continue to eulogise these events in 2020 is depraved and sickening and highly insulting to the families broken by these heinous events, particularly the Narrow Water massacre, where first and second generation relatives are still alive, as well as many of the surviving injured."

Sinn Fein said on Sunday night: "We note that Brian Stanley has deleted a tweet that was inappropriate and insensitive, and that he has apologised."

The party added: "We all have a responsibility in this Decade of Centenaries to remember and commemorate the past in a respectful manner."


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