Sinn Féin must distance itself from an online commemoration marking the death of an IRA bomber which is being organised by one of the party’s councillors, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Wexford TD Paul Kehoe said he is disturbed by reports that Fionntán Ó’Súilleabháin, a Sinn Féin councillor for Gorey, is promoting a Sinn Féin online commemoration marking the death of an IRA volunteer who was killed when a bomb he was carrying detonated on a bus in London 25 years ago.
Deputy Kehoe, who served in the previous Government as Minister of Defence, said: “I find it shocking that a Sinn Fein councillor has organised an event commemorating a man seemingly intent on killing innocent people.
“The revelation is further evidence of the party’s connections to the IRA, who were responsible for acts of terrorism, bloodshed and violence for decades.
“Online notices describe Edward O’Brien, who was killed when the device he was carrying detonated on a bus, as a member of Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish language name for the Defence Forces of the State.
“Describing this individual as an ‘oglach’ or member of ‘Óglaigh na hÉireann’ is most disrespectful to our Defence Forces. The men and women of our Defence Forces, as decent, law-abiding people of Ireland know it, are peacekeepers not bus bombers, and serve our country with great pride and distinction.
“The leadership of Sinn Féin must exercise authority over their councillors and supporters, and the party must as a matter of urgency disassociate itself from this shameful commemoration and admit that what was carried out by Edward O’Brien was a violent crime.
“An image has also been circulated online of a commemorative plague with an image of O’Brien beside the Wexford GAA logo, which is totally unacceptable.
“The GAA is an apolitical organisation and its branding should not be used to advance a political agenda, or in this case, glorify violence,” Deputy Kehoe concluded.