Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“William Irwin’s comments on the commemoration of the IRA’s murderous attack on Loughgall RUC station naively suggest that Michelle O’Neill’s disreputable attendance represents some sort of shift by the Sinn Fein/IRA leadership since the death of McGuinness.
“This is nonsense.
“Indeed, just two days before the DUP/Sinn Fein led executive first came into place in 2007 Martin Guinness attended this very event!
“Speaking then McGuinness said:
“Just as Ireland has undergone many changes since 1987 so too has the republican struggle. The IRA have taken courageous decisions which I believe have advanced and strengthened our struggle and which open up for the first time since partition a democratic and peaceful path towards Irish unity and independence. Republicans are now on a political offensive. The challenge for Sinn Féin is to deliver on the undoubted potential which now exists.
“The new power sharing Executive which I will jointly head with Ian Paisley will begin its work on Tuesday. We are determined that this latest political initiative will not fail. We want to build a new relationship with unionists on this island. We want to demonstrate to them the benefits of sitting down and resolving problems ourselves and overcoming challenges without the need or interference of British Ministers with no mandate in Ireland. …
“Sinn Féin are up for the challenges which lie ahead. We will bring to all of this our desire to overcome difficulties while at the same time setting all of our work within the context of our primary political objective which is to deliver Irish reunification and a genuine process of national reconciliation on the island.”
“It was clear in 2007 that McGuinness and Sinn Fein were only entering power sharing in order to advance a united Ireland and that they were quite happy to glorify the men of blood who went out in the same cause to murder innocent police officers in Loughgall. Those objectives are equally clear today. Stormont, having served its purpose for now, is being held to ransom by Republicans until they obtain astronomical concessions.
“Both in 2007 and ten years later in 2017 they make no secret of the fact that all their work – be it the terrorism of the IRA which they glorify or their political engagement – is all geared towards the same “primary political objective which is to deliver Irish reunification”.
“Sinn Fein/IRA never had any concern about insulting and creating victims while they travelled towards that goal.
“The ghoulish event planned for this weekend is but the latest confirmation that it is still IRA/Sinn Fein, an organisation which no unionist should be trying to sustain in government.”