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SF slammed for ‘wrong message’ in hunger strike parade debate

Thomas Bullock, 53, a part-time UDR member, and his wife Emily, 50 were shot dead by an IRA gang in their Derrylin farmhouse in 1972.

Thomas Bullock, 53, a part-time UDR member, and his wife Emily, 50 were shot dead by an IRA gang in their Derrylin farmhouse in 1972.

The DUP has accused a leading Sinn Fein MLA of sending out ambivalent messages to young people about terrorist violence.

The statement was made yesterday during a debate about Sinn Fein plans for a 10,000-strong parade in the Co Fermanagh village of Derrylin on August 3 to commemorate the IRA hunger strikers.

On Wednesday the News Letter reported the deep hurt and distress felt by relatives of Tommy Bullock, a part-time UDR member, and his wife Emily who were gunned down by the IRA in their Derrylin farmhouse in 1972.

Relatives Edna Simpson and Diane Woods said the gunmen jeered and sounded their horn as they fled the scene, and a nearby abattoir was later called and asked to collect two bullocks. And as the coffins left the farmhouse, a crowd from a dance in Derrylin came into the road to block the funeral, they said.

Mrs Woods said the gunmen must have been neighbours because her aunt and uncle were so security conscious that they would not open the door to strangers.

Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Arlene Foster said yesterday she did not think that the people of Derrylin would accept that this parade “would represent the wider community that vote for Sinn Fein”.

She added that the parade is to “glorify terrorism and I find that incredibly hurtful, offensive and I am sure that those people who have lost loved ones in the Derrylin area feel the same way”.

The MLA said that Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan said at the same event in Monaghan last year that he hoped “the memory of the sacrifice of the hunger strikers would inspire young people”.

“I find that all very difficult, particularly when we are dealing with dissident republicans. We certainly do not want to inspire young people to follow the example of terrorism,” she told the BBC’s Nolan Show.

Mrs Foster told Mr Sheehan that it was “incredible that you would want to say to young people that violence is required”.

 

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