The Ulster Unionist Party’s Fermanagh & South Tyrone MP, Tom Elliott, has highlighted the lack of respect being shown by Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill by her planned attendance at a commemoration of the eight IRA terrorists killed at Loughgall 30 years ago.
Tom Elliott said:
“A feature of the recent talks processes has been repeated demands from Sinn Fein for ‘respect.’ As with ‘the truth’ Sinn Fein is demanding something from others that it is incapable of providing itself.
“In choosing to attend the commemoration for the eight IRA men who chose to arm themselves and turn up at Loughgall on 8 May 1987 in a bid to murder police officers, Michelle O’Neill is not showing respect to the unionist community nor to anyone who respects the rule of law.
“It is worth pausing to examine exactly who Michelle O’Neill believes is worthy of commemoration. The IRA murder gang which was neutralised as it sought to commit more crimes at Loughgall, was led by Jim Lynagh and Maze escaper Padraig McKearney, two of the most dedicated sectarian killers in the ranks of the IRA.
“Just over six years earlier, in January 1981, Lynagh led the IRA’s cowardly murder gang which murdered an 86-year-old man and his son at Tynan in County Armagh. Sir Norman Stronge was a former Speaker in the Stormont Parliament and his son James had also been an Ulster Unionist MP at Stormont.
“As the leader of a political party, one might have reasonably expected Michelle O’Neill to show respect for the Speaker in the very body to which she was elected, rather than his murderer.
“Michelle O’Neill would be better served remembering the likes of Sir Norman and James Stronge rather than the IRA’s Loughgall gang, who were described as ‘streetwise homicidal maniacs’ in Dr William Matchett’s recent book ‘Secret Victory, The Intelligence War that beat the IRA.’
“The only two things worthy of commemorating about Loughgall are the professionalism of the SAS and the fact that a reign of terror by a gang of sectarian killers was brought to an abrupt and welcome end, saving innocent lives in the process.”