Failure to condemn IRA shows Corbyn not worthy of support: unionists

Unionists have slammed Jeremy Corbyn for failing to condemn the IRA's campaign of violence during his visit to Belfast.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 24th May 2018, 6:38 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:48 am
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn answered questions from students at Queen's University
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn answered questions from students at Queen's University

The Labour leader’s arrival prompted unionist parties to demand that he address his relationship with pre-ceasefire republicans.

Speaking after Mr Corbyn fielded questions from students at Queen’s University Belfast, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: “He has had the opportunity to distance himself from the murderous cause which he gave support to in previous times.

“However, he has not even tried to avail himself of the opportunity and in doing so, proven himself unworthy of a vote anywhere in the United Kingdom.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s visit confirms what many people already thought about him. His support for the break-up of the United Kingdom and refusal to engage with victims of republican terrorism come as little surprise. Neither would his desire to keep Northern Ireland entrapped within the European Union.”

Ulster Unionist Party leader, Robin Swann, said Mr Corbyn’s visit had provided him with an “ideal opportunity to state once and for all that the IRA’s campaign of murder was completely wrong and totally unwarranted”.

The North Antrim MLA added: “He had a chance to state clearly where he stands on terrorism and violence used to try to achieve a political goal. It is deeply disappointing, if not entirely surprising, that he failed.”

Meanwhile, TUV leader Jim Allister’s said Mr Corbyn’s call for the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to be reconvened was “further evidence of his anti-unionist agenda”.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he was “reassured” the Labour Party would act to prevent a hard border post-Brexit.

He added: “I firmly believe that the Labour Party are listening to the SDLP’s concerns around alignment with the customs union and the single market – and we will continue to work hand in hand with our sister party to get to a position that protects the interests of all peoples across these islands.”