No alternative to the IRA? People like me lost loved ones but did not take up arms – and O’Neill’s comments call into question Sinn Fein’s fitness to lead

A letter from Rev Alan Irwin:

By Rev Alan Irwin
Friday, 5th August 2022, 5:58 pm
A badge for sale on the Sinn Fein shop; the slogan was popularised by IRA man Bobby Sands
A badge for sale on the Sinn Fein shop; the slogan was popularised by IRA man Bobby Sands

The comments of Michelle O’Neill that there was ‘no alternative’ to conflict (meaning murder and violence) has rightly drawn anger from many quarters.

Yet it comes as no surprise to many of us within the innocent victim community, for we have endured such a mantra since the Belfast Agreement in 1998.

The constant revisionist agenda on past terrorism by the Provisional IRA has always sought to justify the indefensible that they had no other alternative but to murder men, women, and children.

Letter to the editor

There was no justification for any terrorist organisation to murder. There was aways an alternative, as many of us who lost loved ones at their hands have shown by not pursuing the path of violence.

60% of Troubles deaths were murders carried out by republican terrorists, my father and uncle were among them, and their lives mattered. Her comments that their murders were unavoidable is beyond contemptible. Sadly, she is not on her own in supporting this warped mindset.

I’m sure there are those within the political and religious elite who will be greatly embarrassed by her comments.

It draws into question their willingness to trust such apologists of terrorism with a leadership role within our ‘democratic assembly’.

Eulogising terrorism and terrorist acts are always wrong, murder is wrong and until we move away from such vile acts and comments, it’s hard to envision this supposed ‘shared future’ we keep hearing about.

Canon Alan Irwin (CoI), Lack, Co Fermanagh

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