Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton has described as wicked and insensitive the comments of the new Sinn Fein Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh Council. Speaking to the Impartial Reporter newspaper Stephen McCann refused to condemn the Poppy Day Massacre in Enniskillen and repeatedly glorified the IRA killer Seamus McElwaine.
Rosemary Barton said:
“These comments from someone who is meant to represent the entire council are disgusting and they reveal a wicked and deeply flawed sense of reality.
“The Poppy Day bombing in Enniskillen, which murdered 11 innocent members of the public and injured more than 60 others, was a crime against humanity. Even Sinn Fein’s newspaper An Phoblacht criticised the attack, calling it a monumental error. For the new Chairman of the Council to now refuse to condemn it, and those who planted the bomb in the knowledge that civilians would die, is disgusting.
“The glorification of the sectarian killer Seamus McElwaine is also particularly disturbing. I grew up in the Newtownbutler area and living so close to the border at the height of the Troubles there was palpable fear among the minority Protestant farmers and those who dared to bravely serve in the security forces. McElwaine was one of the most evil of all the IRA’s hitmen, creeping up and shooting innocent people when they were at their most vulnerable, before then cowardly running away into hiding again.
“McElwaine only lost his life because he and Sean Lynch were themselves preparing to murder soldiers near Rosslea. Stephen McCann needs to realise that individuals such as McElwaine were nothing more than sectarian serial killers. To glorify him now, and to ludicrously claim that McElwaine ‘set the tone for a peaceful resolution’ has left people wondering if McCann is fit to even pretend that he will represent all the people of Fermanagh and Omagh impartially.
“Sinn Fein claim they stand for equality, respect and integrity. But based on Stephen McCann’s comments, those words are meaningless when Sinn Fein use them, in the same way that they were when Gerry Adams came to Enniskillen in 2014 and swore and said equality was a way to break unionists.”