Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton has claimed that comments made over the weekend by a Sinn Fein TD at the graveside of IRA man Sean South amounted to further glorification of terrorism.
The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA was commenting after the Sinn Fein TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Martin Kenny, claimed that the failed terrorist attack on Brookeborough RUC station in 1957 in which two IRA men were killed, advanced the cause of Irish Unity.
Rosemary Barton said:
“What happened in Brookeborough in 1957 was not a brave stand: it was a failed terrorist attack in which a 14 strong heavily-armed IRA gang failed to take command of an isolated and poorly defended RUC station with only five officers inside.
“After the attack, in their rush to flee across the Border again, the IRA abandoned the bodies of the dead Sean South and the dying Fergal O’Hanlon in a cow shed. A surgeon said at the subsequent inquest that if O’Hanlon had instead received medical attention in reasonable time his life could have been saved. Yet you won’t hear that in Republican ballads or twisted Sinn Fein graveside orations.
“Sean South was a terrorist, a well-known fascist and an anti-Semite, and yet Sinn Fein politicians continue to fall over themselves to deliver the annual oration at his graveside. It’s no different to IRA Leader Sean Russell who died onboard a Nazi U boat in 1940 as he was being returned to Ireland, was buried at sea with full Nazi military honours complete with coffin wrapped in swastika flag, and who has a statue in his memory in a Dublin park at which Sinn Fein representatives have regularly eulogised him from.
“Unfortunately Martin Kenny TD is now just the latest to get involved in this twisted display of veneration. During his comments on Sunday Mr Kenny called Sean South a ‘legendary figure’. He claimed that South died because he recognised that partition had been a ‘catastrophe’ and most hypocritically of all he then urged Republicans to act positively and to have an ‘inclusive dialog’, all the time standing by the grave of a bigoted IRA terrorist.
“This is just the latest example of Sinn Fein failing to understand for as long as they continue to glorify fanatics such as Sean South they will never be able to genuinely talk about their so-called Ireland of equals.”