Corbyn grilled on IRA ‘support’ during TV debate

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, perhaps feeling liberated by low expectations, has looked increasingly assured during the campaign
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, perhaps feeling liberated by low expectations, has looked increasingly assured during the campaign

Jeremy Corbyn has said he had observed a minute’s silence for “everyone who had died in Northern Ireland” after being accused of “openly” supporting the IRA in the past.

During a televised debate where Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the leader of the Conservatives, Theresa May, faced questions from a studio audience and were later, individually, interviewed by journalist Jeremy Paxman.

In the question and answer section with the audience, Mr Corbyn faced a question from a man introduced as Callum McNeill. Mr McNeill asked the Labour leader about his attendance at a commemoration event for IRA men killed by the SAS at Loughgall in Co Tyrone in 1987.

Mr Corbyn said he attended the event to encourage peace talks.

Callum McNeill asked the Labour leader why he had attended the meeting which “honoured” eight members of the IRA who were killed on their way to attack the RUC.

Mr McNeill accused the Labour leader of “openly supported the IRA in the past”.

Mr Corbyn said: “The commemoration I think you’re referring to was a meeting I was at in London where there was a period of silence for everyone who had died in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“The contribution I made to that meeting was to call for a peace and dialogue. It is only by dialogue and process that we brought about the peace in Northern Ireland.

“I think that is a good thing and I think going forward we need to make sure that during the Brexit negotiations there is no return to any kind of hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

Mr Corbyn continued: “And that peace process came about by the actions of people such as John Hume, such as Gerry Adams, such as David Trimble, who eventually brought about ceasefires.

“That brought about the Good Friday Agreement, which respects all the historical traditions of Ireland, which is obviously fundamental to bring about peace.”