Chris Smyth: Romanticising IRA terrorism sends out a message that murder was OK

At 9.23 pm, Saturday 7th July, former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams posted the following tweet:

Thursday, 12th July 2018, 6:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 6:43 pm
Chris Smyth, who is an Ulster Unionist councillor on Fermanagh and Omagh district council

I’m in Pomeroy, County Tyrone for the 30th anniversary of the death of IRA Volunteer Seamus Woods who was killed in an attack on Pomeroy barracks in 1989.

“Beautiful evening for the event and Woods Family.

“A great crowd in attendance.”

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A pathologist’s report stated that Mr Woods had been close to a mortar that exploded prematurely and died from injuries sustained in the explosion.

The East Tyrone IRA confirmed that the dead man was one of their ‘volunteers’.

Thankfully, no members of the security forces were injured in the attack.

It is deeply regretful and will anger many people, including myself, that Sinn Fein continues to attempt to romanticise attempted murder, and in this particular case an attempt to inflict mass murder on people serving the community.

Let me be clear, attempting to fire a mortar into a police station represents the actions of a man with cold-hearted murder in his heart.

I will however not sit silently by as actions which are clearly morally unjustifiable are celebrated by those who claim to be ‘reaching out to unionists’.

By attempting to romanticise the murderous attempts of Seamus Woods, Gerry Adams sends out a very dangerous message, that mass murder of your fellow man is justified and to be celebrated.

At every stage from the Troubles to the present day, people have had a choice where they may have perceived injustice in the world.

They could decide, wrongly, to engage in murder and terrorism to further their aims, or they could decide not to.

The consequences of making the wrong decision were empty chairs at dinner tables across our community.

Thankfully Northern Ireland has a wealth of people who made the right choice.

Those who chose politics, community activism and other avenues to help Northern Ireland get through the dark days.

They are the people we should celebrate, not a terrorist like Seamus Woods.

Sinn Fein have a simple choice ahead of them, continue to romanticise terrorism in an effort to sanitise the dark deeds of the IRA for selfish political gain, or they can reject terrorism in all its forms and allow this country to move forward to a new age of peace and prosperity.

Recent actions regarding the Newry Playpark, the H block escape roadshow and now this, fill me with a feeling they will choose selfish political gain.

• Chris Smyth is an Ulster Unionist councillor on Fermanagh and Omagh district council