Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness should not attend republican Easter graveside commemorations, former IRA blanketman Anthony McIntyre has claimed.
Mr McIntyre, a former life prisoner and chief researcher in the Boston College project, said: “I just don’t see what place a British micro-minister has at the graves of dead republicans.”
Backing earlier calls by Republican Sinn Fein for mainstream republicans to stay away from Easter graveside commemorations, after Mr McGuinness accepted an invitation to attend a state banquet last week in Windsor Castle and toasted the Queen, Mr McIntyre added: “I would endorse the sentiment of RSF.
“Mr McGuinness is calling for people who carry on the tradition of those in the graves to be jailed as he stands beside the leader of British unionism and the leader of the British police.
“That doesn’t mean that any armed campaign is right. I think it is wrong as I said before.”
Former IRA man Tommy Gorman said he had “no interest” in calls by Republican Sinn Fein for mainstream republicans not to attend Easter commemorations.
“I am not interested in this biting from the trenches,” he said.
“What one says I would take with a pinch of salt and what the other one says I would take with a pinch of salt.
“If McGuinness was a republican it would be different. But this man is not a republican.”
A statement from the hardline republican grouping – and signed by Republican Sinn Fein Newry and south Armagh – which was published in a weekly newspaper, said it was directed towards “the Provos and their leader Martin McGuinness”.
It read: “Stay away from the graves of our departed Irish republican volunteers. Your presence and that of your ‘dressed-up’ Brit-loving leader is a contamination of the sacred places where the hunger strikers and other patriots rest.”
Republican Sinn Fein was formed in 1986 after a split in Sinn Fein, with some members protesting at the decision to allow members to take their seats in Dail Eireann.
Republican Sinn Fein refuses to reject the use of political violence and has been linked to the Continuity Irish Republican Army and Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH).