How refreshing it was to learn that the SDLP is standing alongside unionists against the despicable stance taken by the Sinn Fein chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council with regards to the 1987 Enniskillen bomb.
During an interview with the Impartial Reporter, Councillor Stephen McCann of Sinn Fein, astonishingly, could not bring himself to condemn the notorious atrocity that killed 11 people and injured 63 others.
Sadly, we should not be surprised at Mr McCann’s response. Faced with the question of whether they condemn a particular IRA atrocity from the Troubles, Sinn Fein representatives have often been evasive.
This year we have seen both Sinn Fein Assembly and Westminster election candidates failing to give unequivocal responses to the question of whether or not they condemn the horrific murder of Queen’s University law lecturer and Ulster Unionist Assembly member Edgar Graham in 1983. Incredibly, there were attempts to turn that narrative against this newspaper for daring to pose what should be a routine question.
There is much to be welcomed in the statement from SDLP Councillor Mary Garrity, who strongly criticised Mr McCann’s refusal to condemn Enniskillen killings. Mrs Garrity joined with her unionist counterparts, who staged a walkout protest over Mr McCann’s remarks on Thursday night. There has been too much of a tendency recently for the SDLP, and indeed Alliance, to side with Sinn Fein.
However, the unionist protest from Thursday night should not be a one-off, and the matter should not now be brushed under the carpet.
Enniskillen was among the worst atrocities of the Troubles and the chair of one of our leading councils should not have a problem condemning it. If Mr McCann can’t bring himself to do that then he should stand down.