IRA and Islamic terrorists the same

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My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to those victims of the barbaric terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday evening. Manchester has, unfortunately, been here before at the hands of IRA/republican terrorists.

We know only too well the impact of such terrorism.

It is important that we as a United Kingdom stand together to oppose such barbarism. It is for this reason candidates and political parties suspended campaigning ahead of the general election on June 8.

As someone who has been born and brought up in Northern Ireland similar tragedies were a frequent occurrence. It therefore seems ironic for the leaders of the republican movement, Sinn Fein, to be able to condemn such an atrocity.

The IRA were responsible for bomb attacks in 1992 and 1996 in Manchester. No such condemnation was uttered then by Gerry Adams and his cohorts.

The ‘Poppy Day’ bombing in Enniskillen in 1987 sticks in my mind. But also, the Tullyhommon bomb that same day that didn’t explode.

There the IRA targeted a generation of Protestant children from youth groups.

At that time I was in the Boys’ Brigade and attending remembrance parades myself and the shear barbarism and inhumanity of these terrorist attacks was and still is haunting.

That terrorist act was one whereby human life was the target, much like that of the individual in Manchester on Monday.

In November 1992 an IRA bomb in Coleraine ripped up the heart of the Co Londonderry town. Less than a month later the IRA bombed Manchester. Thankfully no one was killed in either bombing, but 65 people were wounded in the Manchester attack.

There is no difference between the IRA and Islamic terrorists. Both oppose ‘Imperialism’ and call on the withdrawal of the forces of Britain from places like Afghanistan.

Both organisations have narrow and nationalistic agendas. The only difference is that IS haven’t adopted the strategy of the ‘Ballot Box’ (yet). Sinn Fein protestations and expressions of sympathy are as hypocritical as they are sickening.

It is important we stand in solidarity with Manchester. It is also important to resist romanticism and attempts to rewrite history on behalf of Sinn Fein and the IRA.

Their ‘war’ was not justified and neither is that of IS/Islamic terrorists.

Councillor Richard Holmes, Ulster Unionist, East Londonderry