The Ulster Unionist Party’s Omagh Councillor Chris Smyth has hit back at comments made by Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty, in which he said the New IRA ‘besmirch the name of the IRA.’
Councillor Chris Smyth said:
“The comments by Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty at an Easter Rising Commemoration in Carrickmore regarding the New IRA murder of Lyra McKee in Londonderry were further evidence of how Sinn Fein just do not grasp the reality or impact of IRA violence.
“Mr Doherty said that the people behind the murder ‘masquerade as the IRA but they are not the IRA. They besmirch the name of the IRA.’
“It is rather difficulty to understand how anyone could ‘besmirch the name of the IRA’ given the litany of crimes with which its name is associated. This is an organisation responsible for the deliberate targeting of civilians in bombs in Claudy in 1972, Coleraine in 1973, La Mon in 1978 and Enniskillen in 1987.
“How exactly do you ‘besmirch’ the name of an organisation that shot a nine-month old baby in the head in Germany in October 1989? Or blew up two children in a shopping street in Warrington in 1993?
“Pearse Doherty just doesn’t get the fact that the IRA and the so-called New IRA are cut from the same cloth. There is no point differentiating between the two. Their stock in trade is terror. Murder is what the IRA did, and is what the New IRA do. In aims and tactics there is no difference. Terrorism is terrorism. You can’t romanticise the past and condemn the present.”