Unionists have branded Sinn Fein’s calls for Karen Bradley to resign over her remarks regarding Troubles deaths as “blatant hypocrisy”.
In the wake of the NI secretary’s comments, in which she claimed that no one killed by the security forces during the Troubles was the victim of a crime, Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said Mrs Bradley’s position was “untenable”.
But DUP MP Sammy Wilson said it was sometimes “a badge of honour” for a secretary of state to have demands made by Sinn Fein for their resignation, and added: “It shows an unwillingness to be moulded into Sinn Fein’s shape and a determination not to allow their version of history to become the accepted norm.”
The East Antrim representative said Sinn Fein’s calls for state truth and transparency “reeks of hypocrisy” and accused republicans of repeatedly “hiding behind their PIRA code”.
“When will Mary Lou and Michelle O’Neill call for republicans to tell the truth about PIRA atrocities?” he asked.
While Mr Wilson said soldiers and police officers who served in the Troubles “must not be above the law”, he added that there is a “disproportionate focus” on the 10% of Troubles deaths attributed to the police or Army.
“The police and Army had legal means to use firearms and in most cases were justified in their actions,” Mr Wilson continued.
“They were permitted to defend themselves and other innocent people. This sits in contrast to the 90% of people who were killed during the Troubles by terrorists.
“Those murderers skulked under the cover of darkness and shot people in the back with illegal weapons.”
While Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said Mrs Bradley’s remarks were “completely wrong”, he welcomed her apology on Thursday and said those calling on her to resign were “only doing so to make political gain” in the lead up to the local government elections in May.
The highly decorated former soldier turned politician told the News Letter: “Sinn Fein has no credibility on this issue whatsoever.
“They scream and shout about the words of the secretary of state and yet they continually eulogise and condone the butchery of men, women and children.
“It is hypocrisy of the highest order.”