Sinn Fein has been accused of “crass hypocrisy” after a member of the party called for the release of two alleged dissident republican prisoners a day after another condemned a bomb blast in Lurgan.
Ulster Unionist councillor Colin McCusker welcomed the condemnation from Upper Bann Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd, who said those who planted the bomb in a bin on Saturday were “anti peace process forces”.
But the UUP councillor said he was disgusted and flabbergasted to hear Junior Minister Jennifer McCann of Sinn Fein call for the release of two republican prisoners during an Easter commemoration in Lurgan on Sunday.
“I, along with thousands of ordinary Northern Ireland people, will wonder how Sinn Fein can condemn republican terrorists one day, and then call for their release from prison the next,” said Mr McCusker. “This ability by Sinn Fein to condemn republican terrorists one minute and then offer them support the next, amounts to nothing more than crass hypocrisy.
Marian Price, one of the Old Bailey bombers, has been detained in prison since 2011 when then Secretary of State Owen Paterson revoked her release on licence.
Martin Corey, who was given a life sentence for the murders of two RUC officers in 1973, had his 1992 release revoked three years ago on unspecified allegations of involvement with dissident republicans.
Mr McCusker went on to criticise Sinn Fein for what he called a perception of their “tacit support” for violent republicans.
He said: “It (the call for the release of the two prisoners) also ensures that the vast majority of people have the perception that these republican terrorists labelled as ‘dissidents’ by Sinn Fein, are really just another wing of the Republican movement, with tacit support from the Sinn Fein leadership.”
Shortly after the Lurgan bomb on Saturday Depouty First Minister and Sinn Fein member Martin McGuinness said those involved were “anti peace extremists living in fantasy world”.
He tweeted: “Bomb in Lurgan has to be condemned. Attack futile, won’t change a thing.”