A Sinn Fein MEP who said IRA atrocities could not be described as terrorism has been urged to apologise and withdraw her remarks by the DUP’s Diane Dodds.
In an interview in the latest edition of Hot Press magazine, Liadh Ni Riada said she was happy to denounce the actions of Islamic State as terrorism, but said the if the word was used as a “blanket term” for every conflict situation then it would wrongly condemn the IRA.
Commenting on the recent ISIS bomb in Manchester – that claimed the lives of 22 people at a music concert – Ms Ni Riada said; “I would see it as an act of absolute horrendous violence. I don’t want to be hypocritical and say that’s terrorism and then people would say, ‘Were the IRA not terrorists?’ And I can understand that.”
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.”
DUP MEP Mrs Dodds described her Sinn Fein counterpart’s comments as “yet another example of Sinn Fein’s continued glorification of IRA crimes” and a “further insult to innocent victims”.
“Liadh Ni Riada is right to say that what Islamic State jihadis did in London and Manchester cannot be justified, but how offensive is it that she seems to think you can justify the murders of young Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball in Warrington as some how a different level of terrorism?”
Mrs Dodds added: “The clear reality is there is no difference between the abhorrent terrorism of Islamic State and that carried out by the IRA.”
In the magazine interview, Ms Ni Riada also said she disagreed with describing IRA atrocities such as Bloody Friday, Aldershot, Warrington or the Birmingham pub bombings as terrorist attacks. She said she didn’t “think you can be as black and white as that about it”.
Mrs Dodds said Sinn Fein should apologise on behalf of the MEP.
Sinn Fein responded saying the call was an “attempt to score cheap political points on the back of the Manchester atrocity,” and added: “Republicans have acknowledged that in the conflict in Ireland hurt was caused on all sides. There can be no hierarchy of victims.”
In the interview, Ms Ni Riada declares she is pro-abortion, but “would have an issue” with terminations after a foetus becomes “very viable,” and that she would like to see a debate around the legalisation of marijuana.