Sinn Fein has been accused of trying to hijack Easter 1916 celebrations while editing out their partnership with US serial killer James ‘Whitey’ Bulger.
Crowds last week watched as Sinn Fein TD Martin Ferris posed for pictures on a Co Kerry beach to celebrate past republican gun-running in the area.
It was the same beach where diplomat Roger Casement came ashore on Good Friday 1916 with the aim of landing arms to support the planned Easter Rising.
It was also off the Kerry coast that the 1984 ‘Marita Ann’ arms shipment from the USA was uncovered – an operation which has been linked to Boston-based mass murderer Bulger, whose gangland reign was recently portrayed by Johnny Depp in the movie ‘Black Mass’.
Sinn Fein’s Martin Ferris had himself had a role in the Marita Ann incident, a fact which was referenced in the coverage given to the beachside ceremony by Sinn Fein newspaper An Phoblacht.
However, the DUP said last night that Sinn Fein’s event was a PR exercise intended to create a continuity between the 1916 Rising and the ‘heavily re-written’ history of the Provisional IRA campaign.
The Irish Independent said yesterday it expects Sinn Fein’s 1916 narrative to exclude more than 1,800 IRA murders, including those of Jean McConville and Paul Quinn.
The paper said it also expects the party to exclude any reference to “the starring role” of Whitey Bulger in the Marita Ann shipment, describing him as “the Irish-American monster responsible for 19 murders including the strangulation of two women”.
He was also the IRA’s ‘point man’ in the arms shipment, which was intercepted by the Garda and Naval Service off the Co Kerry coast in September 1984.
Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer said last night: “This is something that we have been meaning to look at.
“What case did the IRA make to its supporters in the US to legitimise working with an American serial killer in the cause for a united Ireland? Obviously fit finds fit.”
DUP MLA Nelson McCausland added: “The Sinn Fein-sponsored gathering at the spot where Roger Casement came ashore on Good Friday 1916 with the aim of landing guns for the Irish Volunteers was a pathetic republican pantomime.
“The Sinn Fein programme of events for 2016 is intended to portray Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA as the legitimate successors of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and the men of the Easter rebellion.
“They see this as an opportunity to try to rewrite history to legitimise the decades of Provisional IRA terrorism.
“However, the rebellion of 1916 was wrong, as indeed were the years of IRB terrorism that preceded 1916, and as was the campaign of the Provisional IRA.”
He added: “Arlene Foster was right to state clearly that she will not attend the commemoration of the Easter rebellion in Dublin.”