SF’s Anderson under fire for ‘failure’ to condemn IS

Ann Travers  attends a  Victims and Survivors Forum yesterday in East Belfast , Ann's sister (Mary) was shot by the IRA
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Ann Travers attends a Victims and Survivors Forum yesterday in East Belfast , Ann's sister (Mary) was shot by the IRA Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Convicted IRA bomber and Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson has come under fire for her apparent failure to condemn IS attacks in Brussels.

More than 30 people were killed in explosions in the city on Tuesday.

Ms Anderson, who has served time for IRA bombing offences, was travelling with a delegation from Londonderry to Brussels to attend an Easter Rising centenary event when their plans were blocked by the IS attacks in the city.

Speaking from the Eurotunnel station in London, she said: “As much as people here are shocked, they are thankful we had chosen to go this way as opposed to being in the airport.”

Relatives had been calling them to ensure they were safe, she said.

She tweeted: “Delegation going to Brussels from North is still in England - all safe and sound - thoughts and prayers with those injured in Brussels airport.”

Last year the MEP came under fire after she and two other Sinn Fein MEPs failed to support an EU motion calling on member states to support action against IS.

Two of the party’s MEPs voted against the motion backing measures against the terror group.

Ms Anderson was not listed as having cast a preference during the vote.

Sinn Fein declined to offer any explanation at the time.

Ann Travers, whose sister was murdered by the IRA, noted that there was no apparent condemnation of IS from Ms Anderson this week.

“I have never read such irony before,” she said.

“She [Ms Anderson] was quoted in one media outlet as saying ‘stay safe’, but not so long ago she was like the [IS] terrorists today, carrying bombs to murder and injure innocents.”

Kenny Donaldson, of Innocent Victims United, said: “Martina Anderson along with a large percentage of the current SF MLA team have convictions for terrorist-related offences against their neighbours.

“Today she has not condemned the actions of IS.

“Neither she nor the deputy first minister have stated a view that there is no legitimacy for the taking of life in the supposed furtherance of political or ethnic/religious focused objectives.”

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said the party has condemned IS “on numerous occasions”.

IS is “engaged in terror and responsible for countless atrocities”, he said, adding that those targeted “posed no threat to anyone but were targeted without cause, without justification and without mercy”.