The DUP has slammed Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson after she referred to IRA terrorists as “soldiers” in a “war”.
The convicted IRA bomber made the comments on Twitter in a conversation with former soldier and Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie, stating that they were both soldiers in a war that is “thankfully over”.
Her remarks have been labelled “disgraceful” by DUP MEP Diane Dodds, who accused Ms Anderson of seeking to “justify terror”, as well as “revise history”.
In a scathing assessment, Mrs Dodds added that the remarks were an “affront” to innocent victims of terrorism and their families.
“The stark truth is that there was no war in Northern Ireland, only a brutal and ruthless terrorist campaign met by the courage and sacrifice of our security forces,” she said.
“The DUP will always call out those who seek to justify terror as well as revise history.
“There will never be a comparison between the terrorist perpetrator and the innocent victims.”
Other social media users have also hit out at Ms Anderson’s comments, including Austin Stack, the son of an Irish prison officer murdered by the IRA.
He tweeted: “So ‘your struggle’ and the acts of your ‘soldiers’ which included shooting an innocent defenceless civilian, my Dad, in the back of the head as he walked down a Dublin street are completely legitimate in your eyes. In mine they are acts of complete cowardice.”
Another said: “You’re wrong there Martina. You were a convicted criminal. And the passing of the years will never change that no matter how much you try and wish it away.”
Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson wrote: “If the IRA were an army then quit crying about when the British Army fired back.”
The News Letter asked Sinn Fein for comment, but we received no reply.
Ms Anderson’s comments came after party colleague, councillor Patrice Hardy, caused a social media row at the weekend by stating that she “couldn’t get her head round” the fact Irishman Eoin Morgan wanted to captain the English cricket team.
Morgan captained England to victory at the Cricket World Cup on Sunday.
Ms Hardy’s comments sparked a furious backlash, with many accusing her of showing bigotry towards the English.
The Ballymena councillor said she had been subjected to a torrent of misogynistic abuse as a result of her comments on Twitter.