Victims call on Labour hopeful to state IRA view

Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn

A terror victims umbrella group has challenged Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn to clarify his views on the 1,778 lives the IRA claimed over 36 years.

Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United, was speaking as Mr Corbyn - seen as the most left-wing candidate in the race - battles other leadership hopefuls Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

Mr Donaldson said that Mr Corbyn “has major issues to deal with” in terms of his long-standing pro republican utterances which, he claimed, had “been consistent throughout the decades”.

He added: “Victims and survivors demand an answer to these questions.”

Mr Corbyn caused outrage by inviting members of Sinn Fein including Gerry Adams to the Commons only weeks after the 1984 Brighton bomb in which the IRA came within a whisker of wiping out Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet.

In 1987 he observed a minute’s silence for eight IRA members killed by the SAS in an ambush; while in 2002 he wore a bright red blazer in the Commons Chamber during the eulogies to the Queen Mother.

Mr Donaldson asked yesterday: “Does Mr Corbyn consider the IRA as a terrorist organisation or its members as ‘freedom fighters’? What does Mr Corbyn have to say to the families of those whose loved ones were murdered by individuals within the IRA’s ‘Loughgall Eight’ - those who he stood for a one minute’s silence to honour?

“What was Mr Corbyn’s motivation in having invited Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein leaders to the Commons just weeks after the IRA bomb attack on the Brighton hotel which sought to wipe out the Conservative Party’s Cabinet? And looking back now, has his perspective in any way changed?”

He also challenged the MP as to what he has to say to innocent victims and survivors of IRA terrorism across the United Kingdom, including victims of IRA bombs at Harrods, Hyde Park, Canary Wharf, the M62 bus bombings, Birmingham and dozens of other cases.

Mr Donaldson added: “IVU strongly encourages the members of the UK Labour Party to stand up for the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism. Do not offer your support to someone who considers Gerry Adams an ally and fellow brother in Marxism.

“Socialism is a noble cause in its own right but when ‘armed conflict’ is merged, excused and enabled, it becomes a deeply dangerous ideology.”

According to the Daily Telegraph, the MP does not believe in personality politics, once saying: “I wish we had the French system, where public figures have genuinely private lives and there is no Daily Mail.”

Mr Corbyn’s campaign office had offered no response to Mr Donaldson’s comments at the time of going to press.