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Mary Lou McDonald quizzed over Brian Stanley escaping sanction over Narrow Water tweet when Barry McElduff resigned for Kingsmill post

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said she will not be punishing TD Brian Stanley for a tweet he sent about the murder of British soldiers by the IRA.

Ms McDonald said that she was “absolutely certain that this was a singular, one-off mistake by Brian Stanley and one that will not be repeated".

She added that he will not be punished further as he apologised and deleted the “inappropriate and insensitive” tweet.

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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

"That's the most important thing for me,” Ms McDonald told RTE's Morning Ireland.

She added: “I think it’s a lesson for all of us just how thoughtful and mindful we need to be in the comments that we make publicly and on social media platforms, because we are now in a period where we will be marking centenaries of many events that many of us regard as pivotal moments in our struggle for national independence, but events that still evoke very strong reactions from people of a different traditional political tradition.”

TD Stanley, who is chairman of the Dail’s Public Accounts Committee, wrote 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.”

In a statement, Mr Stanley apologised "for the content of an inappropriate and insensitive tweet that I sent yesterday".

When asked if Mr Stanley will be removed from his position of chairman of the Dail’s Public Accounts Committee, the Sinn Fein leader said no.

“No I won’t, Brian is a very effective, even-handed and fair chair of the public accounts committee,” she said.

"It is a very important committee and the work is essential and I am anxious that he continues. He will of course address the controversy with committee colleagues when they meet on Wednesday.

“He is more than fit to chair this committee. He is a steady, low-key kind of individual. He is extremely competent and experienced so the answer is yes he will continue with that work.”

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Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff showing him with a Kingsmill-branded loaf on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre

Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff showing him with a Kingsmill-branded loaf on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre

Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff showing him with a Kingsmill-branded loaf on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre

Former Sinn Fein MP for West Tyrone Barry McElduff resigned two years ago after putting a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmills Massacre.

When asked why Mr Stanley shouldn’t resign but Mr McElduff did, the Sinn Fein leader said: “You deal with these cases as they present and at the time Barry felt given the debt of hurt felt by the victims of that particular event that was his course of action.”

Ms McDonald added: “I want to apologise universally to people who, like me, like all of us, wish to forge a constructive pathway ahead and for whom that particular tweet jarred because it goes against the grain of what is a challenging proposition on the one hand to honestly recall and remember our history and what happened, but at the same time to do it mindful of others.”

Irish Independent


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