A PENSIONER widowed by the IRA has told how she felt ill following a BBC documentary in which a succession of celebrities were joined by churchmen in lauding Gerry Adams.
Part-time postman James McFall's widow Muriel, who watched him lie dying in a pool of blood at their home more than 30 years ago, said she was "disgusted" by the programme broadcast on Monday night.
The 70-year-old from Belfast's Shankill Road – one of three IRA victims who contacted the News Letter yesterday – said she could not watch all of the praise for the Sinn Fein president in the hour-long broadcast, given his widely documented IRA involvement at the time of her husband's murder.
"I was just disgusted," the mother-of-five said.
"He and his cohorts are nothing but terrorists – I'd tell him to his face.
"I just couldn't watch it all. I've not been well all day because of it.
"My youngest child was 10, I was 38 and was upstairs with the children (at the time of the murder)...to me, it seems we're just a thorn in the side, so are forgotten."
The BBC defended the "impartial" programme in which former Presbyterian moderator Ken Newell spoke of Mr Adams as "a supremely gifted thinker" and as one who is "fair, flexible, inclusive, respectful".
Former Methodist president Harold Good also lauded the Sinn Fein president while American actress Barbra Streisand said of him: "I respect him deeply."
A News Letter reader from Co Armagh, who did not want to be named, said: "It was almost entirely uncritical of what he's done – they wheeled out the weakest voices in the clergy and victims sector and the strongest part of nationalism and republicanism. This is the nightmare of where this peace process is going."
She added: "Barbra Streisand called him a hero. I don't think he's a hero to Jean McConville's family or to thousands of other families."
Victims' campaigner Willie Frazer said that the programme had been "pure propaganda".
Four of Mr Frazer's family, including his father, were murdered by the IRA and he said it was nauseating that the Protestant clergy had lauded Adams' achievements, despite the Sinn Fein leader's refusal to even admit being a member of the IRA or apologise for its hundreds of murders and thousands of maimings.
Mr Frazer said: "As victims, the most disgusting part of the programme was the attitude of the two Protestant churchmen; the Rev Ken Newell and the Rev Harold Good.
"The way they talked about how great a man Gerry Adams was and how he brought the republican movement to where they are now was nothing short of sickening.
"As someone who represents the victims' families, we have been inundated with phone calls from victims to say they are completely and utterly disgusted."
Even the nationalist commentator Jude Collins, while making clear his support for Mr Adams, said that the programme "went a bit too far", describing the documentary's references to the Sinn Fein president hugging trees as "like watching James Connolly demonstrate how to make the perfect omelette".
Meanwhile, in an interview with Dublin's Hot Press magazine, Mr Adams was pressed on how he could condemn Israel for "murdering" nine Turks attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, while not condemning IRA atrocities such as the Enniskillen bombing.
The Sinn Fein chief responded: "We still have, I still have, a political defence of the IRA's right to engage in armed actions in the context of what was happening at that time.
"That does not mean that I support all actions that they took."
A spokeswoman for the BBC said that the corporation had received two complaints about the programme.
In a statement, the BBC defended the "impartial" documentary, stressing that it was part of a series profiling political leaders.
It said: "The documentary adheres to strict editorial guidelines to ensure balance.
"Ultimately, the opinions expressed in the programme about Adams are the evolving perceptions and attitudes of those people who have been involved, affected or influenced by him over time."