Sinn Fein MP slammed for ‘hypocrisy’ on disabled protest

Francie Molloy during the disability rights protest at the House of Commons on Wednesday
Francie Molloy during the disability rights protest at the House of Commons on Wednesday

A disabled victim of IRA terrorism has slammed a Sinn Fein MP for taking part in a protest against disability benefit cuts at Westminster.

Mid Ulster MP Francie Molloy joined disability rights campaigners at a protest against cuts in Westminster on Wednesday.

But one of his constituents who suffers post traumatic stress disorder and heart trouble as a result of IRA terrorism slammed what she described as his “hypocrisy”.

Serena Hamilton, 46, was seven when the IRA shot her father David Graham in the back in the Coalisland factory where he worked. He was a part-time member of the UDR.

“It is good to see Sinn Fein-IRA going into Westminster after all this time although it seems very hypocritical,” she said.

“But it would have been much better if they had not made so many people disabled in the first place, rather than protesting now about cuts to their benefits.

“We have quite a lot of injured IRA victims in our support group. Many are still afraid to speak out because there is still a high threat level against them.

“We get by on Disability Living Allowance although I struggle to continually justify the benefits. But I would much rather starve that take anything from the hands of Francie Molloy.”

Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left in a wheelchair by the IRA’s Brighton bomb in 1984, also slammed Mr Molloy. “It would have been better had Sinn Fein/IRA been against leaving people dead and disabled in the first place,” he said. “It is a bit late now.”

Sinn Fein responded that Mr Molloy joined disability rights activists at Westminster to protest against “the Tory austerity agenda”.

“It is clear there is a growing momentum against the austerity agenda of the Tory government,” said a spokesman.

“Francie Molloy, like all Sinn Fein MPs, works hard on a daily basis for their constituents and regularly travel to London for meetings and briefings with MPs from a range of parties, trade unions and other groups.”

“We will not take any lectures from Norman Tebbit, who was part of a government which introduced swingeing cuts.”

On Monday the appearance of Martin McGuinness at a rally in London was been branded “disgusting” by the English sister of an IRA murder victim.

Julie Hambleton, who lost her 18-year-old sister Maxine in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, spoke out after the Sinn Fein MLA addressed a mass protest in the capital on Saturday.

Jonathan Ganesh of the Docklands Victims Association also expressed concern at the invite offered to the senior republican.

More than 100,000 people took part in the demonstration through the city’s financial district. In a speech to the protestors, Mr McGuinness said it was “Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires who are the real spongers”.

Ms Hambleton said: “They now want pensions for terrorists who injured themselves while trying to kill other people.

“There just aren’t words to describe the madness.

Mr Ganesh, who survived the IRA bombing of Canary Wharf in 1995, said: “I find Mr McGuiness’s attendance at this anti-austerity march very concerning for all victims of terrorist violence.

“The mainland disabled victims are being denied a pension and many victims are campaigning for justice – and absurdly perpetrators may receive a pension.”