Doug Beattie: I won't take offended rhetoric from a party with a callous heart
If Sinn Fein are upset by my words, let them be upset. I would much rather they were upset and offended by the execution of 10 innocent men at Kingsmill, the burning alive of 12 people at La Mon, the murder of innocent shoppers on the Shankill Road 24 years ago, the fact that the IRA butchered Paul Quinn - unfortunately the list of human rights abuse carried out by the IRA goes on and on. And all condoned or excused by Sinn Fein.
I simply won't take or accept the 'offended' rhetoric from Sinn Fein. They have been pandered to far too long.
They are angered when anyone dares mention the IRA's bloody past yet at the same time they want inquiries, investigations and inquests galore when they have the State, the police or Army as a target.
Terrorist victims have been asked to accept and make lots of sacrifices during and after the Troubles.
Yet Sinn Fein wants to pile on the misery for victims and their families. Sinn Fein operates with a cold and callous heart. I recently attended a meeting of the UDR Regimental Association in Castlederg, where it was a privilege to meet the people who stood between the terrorists and the terrorised.
I sat and spoke to a man whose sister was murdered by the IRA in a bomb.
What happened in that border area was little short of ethnic cleansing, yet nobody was brought to justice.
It is clear that Sinn Fein's new found fondness for rights and respect does not stretch to border Protestants. Or border Catholics like Paul Quinn.
The 20 years since the Belfast Agreement have shown that Sinn Fein is incapable of generosity apart from gestures made by Martin McGuinness.
The mask slipped last week, however, when the current Sinn Fein Mayor of Londonderry refused to meet Prince Charles.
Sinn Fein are arch hypocrites to ask me to apologise for offending them given their track record.
I will say it again. The republican movement - of which Sinn Fein was such a central part - has so much blood on its hands, that no amount of equality spin will wash that away.
Clearly the truth hurts.
- Doug Beattie is a UUP MLA for Upper Bann and is a recipient of the Military Cross