Sinn Fein at ‘truth’ march is ironic, say Catholic IRA victims

The Time for Justice march in Belfast city centre on Sunday
The Time for Justice march in Belfast city centre on Sunday

Catholic victims of the IRA have described Sinn Fein’s participation in a march for truth in Belfast as “ironic” and “too much to stomach”.

Those were the views of Seamus McKendry – whose mother-in-law, Jean McConville, was shot by the IRA in 1972 – and Catherine McCartney – whose brother, Robert McCartney, was stabbed to death by members of the IRA in 2005.

Organisers of Sunday’s Time for Truth march said 5,000 people joined relatives of victims of the UK security forces, calling for proposed truth mechanisms to be fully implemented and resourced by the Government.

Mr McKendry told the News Letter that the marchers’ demands “really need resolving”.

“However, there are plenty of people who say it is ironic that the Shinners were there when they created enough victims themselves,” he said.

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill led many prominent party members in the parade.

Mr McKendry’s mother-in-law was abducted by the IRA and murdered in 1972.

The McConville family has had “nil truth” from Sinn Fein about the murder, Mr McKendry said.

“That is, apart from the truth that we forced out of them after years of denial. There was never any cooperation from them. All these issues need to be addressed before the past can be allowed to sleep.”

Similary, Ms McCartney “100 per cent” supported the aims of the march.

“My issue is when Sinn Fein take part and use langauge in which they say they are campaigning for all victims,” she said.

“That is a blatant lie.”

If Sinn Fein was really campaigning for all victims, she said, then the party members who were there when her brother was murdered would come forward and give statements to the police.

“We still don’t even know who stabbed Robert.”

She asked if a single relative of the IRA’s almost 1,800 victims was in the parade.

“In reality, Sinn Fein only cares about victims who offer the party some political capital.

“The hypocrisy of it is just a bit too much to stomach.”

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said: “The March for Truth saw thousands of people on the street supporting the victims and families who have been denied justice and truth.”

Asked if it believes IRA members should be equally answerable on the past, no answer was forthcoming.