A Sinn Féin MEP who said IRA crimes could not be described as terrorism has been urged to apologise and withdraw her remarks.
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has described comments by Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada as “yet another example of Sinn Féin’s continued glorification of IRA crimes” and a “further insult to innocent victims”.
Liadh Ní Riada, in an interview with Hot Press magazine, declared herself “uncomfortable with the use of the word terrorism, because it’s a blanket description of what atrocities there were”.
She added: “I don’t think you can have a blanket word like ‘terrorist’ to describe every conflict situation in the world, because you’re almost automatically then putting, say, the IRA, for instance, as the one who created this terror, created this conflict.”
Ms Ní Riada said she would use the word to refer to the Islamic State grouping, citing “different levels of terrorism”
Diane Dodds called on her to apologise, saying: “This is yet another example of Sinn Fein’s continued glorification of IRA crimes and further insult to innocent victims across the UK who suffered at the hands of the Provisional IRA.”
She continued: “Liadh Ni Riada is right to say that what Islamic State jihadis did in London and Manchester cannot be justified, but how offensive is it that she seems to think you can justify the murders of young Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball in Warrington as some how a different level of terrorism?”
Ms Dodds said: “The clear reality is there is no difference between the abhorrent terrorism of Islamic State and that carried out by the IRA.”
In the Sinn Féin MEP’s interview with Hot Press, she also said she disagreed with describing IRA atrocities such as Bloody Friday, Aldershot, Warrington or the Birmingham pub bombings as terrorist attacks. Ms Ní Riada told the magazine she didn’t “think you can be as black and white as that about it”.
“It was a terrible time of conflict,” she said. “But there is no conflict without a reason.”
Diane Dodds said: “People will be rightly outraged by her attempts to gloss over the murder of 9 people on Bloody Friday, 21 people in Birmingham, 7 people in Aldershot and the 2 children in Warrington. The same attacks maimed 375 people. This is just a fraction of around 1800 people the IRA murdered during their terror campaign. Murder was never justified, then or now.”
The DUP MEP also called on Ms Ní Riada’s party to apologise, saying: “Sinn Fein should show leadership and withdraw and apologise for these offensive and insulting remarks. How can Sinn Fein speak from one side of their mouths about respect, while continuing to justify the murder of innocent men, women and children from the other?”
The News Letter has contacted Sinn Féin for comment.