SDLP silence on IRA re-enactment

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood. (Picture: Matt Mackey / Presseye)

The SDLP has taken three days to say that it will not be commenting on the re-enactment of PIRA attacks on the streets of Londonderry.

The PSNI said it had advance notification of public re-enactments of “recent” PIRA terror attacks in the city, carried out across the city by masked men with replica weapons on Saturday.

Some of the participants in the Londonderry walking tour on 30 September 2017 that re-enacted some recent modern IRA attacks in the city.

The move was condemned the DUP. TUV, lawyer Trevor Ringland and a former PSNI Detective Inspector, but firmly defended by Sinn Fein.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the News Letter asked the SDLP in Londonderry for reaction to the development. Just after 1pm on Thursday the party finally responded: “Sorry for the delay. We won’t be commenting.”

Earlier this week Londonderry MLA and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood came under fire from the DUP for his campaign for the release of fellow Londonderry man, republican Tony Taylor.

Taylor was given 18-years for IRA offences in 1994 but released on licence under the Good Friday Agreement. In 2011 he was given three years on firearms charges and was then arrested and jailed last year as posing a risk to the public.

In recent years the SDLP has come under fire from unionists in South Down and Newry and Mourne for swinging back and forth in its support for a Newry playground being named after IRA man Raymond McCreesh. Along with several others, he was arrested with one of the weapons used in the Kingsmills massacre, several months after it took place in 1976.

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