A man whose father was shot and killed by the IRA in Dublin in the 1980s has said Sinn Fein’s candidate for the Irish presidential election is “completely unsuitable” over comments she made about terrorism.
Sinn Fein confirmed at the weekend the selection of Liadh Ní Riada as their candidate to contest the election.
Austin Stack, whose father Brian was a chief prison officer in Portlaoise when he was shot by the IRA in 1983 and died 18 months later from his injuries, said Ms Ní Riada’s comments in an interview with Hot Press magazine regarding terrorism made her unsuitable as president of Ireland.
In the interview, Ms Ní Riada said she was happy to denounce the actions of Islamic State as terrorism, but said that if the word was used as a “blanket term” for every conflict situation then it would wrongly condemn the IRA.
Ms Ní Riada said she would use the word to refer to the Islamic State grouping because there are “different levels of terrorism”. However, she added: “I don’t really like the word terrorism. You have to look at every conflict on its own right.”
Mr Stack, speaking to the News Letter, said: “She said she wouldn’t consider acts carried out by the IRA during the Troubles as acts of terrorism. She said they should be seen in the contect of the ‘conflict’ at the time.
“I would have an issue with that. My dad was shot down in cold blood while walking down a street in Dublin. A man came up and shot him in the back of the head. My dad wasn’t involved in any conflict. From my perspective, to try and dress that up in the context of some conflict is not tenable. It is not accurate. It’s trying to rewrite history. It’s trying to gloss over acts of terrorism.”
He continued: “It is hurtful and it is offensive. These people in Sinn Fein keep coming with this stuff. It worries me that if these people keep saying this often enough, people will believe it.”
A spokesperson for Sinn Fein said: “Liadh Ní Riadh has said she wants to be a new president for a new Ireland.
“A process of national reconciliation is central to uniting the people of Ireland. If elected, reconciliation will be a theme of her presidency.”