UUP Attack Sinn Féin Over Castlewellan Wreath Laying

 Ulster Unionists have made a rigorous attack on Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin president elect, following her visit to Castlewellan recently to attend the opening of the new Sinn Féin office.
Prior to this opening event she spent over an hour talking to local businesses and people on the street, and then attended a wreath laying ceremony at an IRA memorial for past volunteers.
UUP representative Alan Lewis said:  “It is disappointing but unsurprising that Sinn Fein’s president elect chose to take part in a wreath laying ceremony commemorating the actions of failed IRA bomber Peter McNulty who died at his own hands while trying to blow up Castlewellan RUC station.
“Perhaps Ms McDonald could have used her visit to South Down constructively by visiting local businesses, schools, hospitals or simply taking the opportunity to apologise to victims of IRA violence.
“It is bad enough that an illegal republican shrine blights the Lower Square in Castlewellan, but the fact that Sinn Fein organise terrorist memorials on a busy Friday afternoon makes it all the more troubling. Sinn Fein has adopted equality and respect as their political slogans.
UUP representative Alan Lewis.

“Once again we are seeing the true face of Sinn Fein, a party offended by everything and ashamed of nothing. The mask has slipped once again as with Gerry Adams comments that equality was merely the Trojan Horse that would be used to break Unionists.

“It seems the abstentionist MP Chris Hazzard and South Down MLA Emma Rogan who also attended the commemoration are choosing to use their new roles to insult rather than engage with Unionists. Sinn Fein claim to support innocent victims while eulogising terrorist bombers. This is shameful.”

Commenting on the event, Mourne’s Councillor Jill McCauley said: “After being contacted by a number of concerned residents, I too feel very disappointed at this commemoration event happening in Castlewellan.

UUP Mourne’s Councillor Jill McCauley.

“After such a furore about ‘respect’ from Sinn Fein leadership, it seems that they have a very short memory or even selective memory as usual service resumes in another opportunity to glorify terrorism locally.

“The last number of weeks have not been a very pleasant spectacle for anyone looking at the Northern Ireland political scene following the distasteful Kingsmill video PR disaster by their former colleague Barry McElduff.

“This is nothing surprising given who we are dealing with. Sinn Fein have spent so long lecturing the rest of us about the need for equality, respect and integrity that they forgot the one rule. Never demand anything from others that you are not prepared to give yourself.

“This man whom they sought to commemorate wanted to cause maximum death and destruction to innocent people in Castlewellan but it went wrong for him.  That was his choice when he set out on his mission that day in 1972.  Sinn Fein’s persistent inability to differentiate between a victim and a victim maker is a mark of their desperation to promote the IRA campaign as justified.

“Over 3,000 people lost their lives during the troubles and whilst some were involved in high profile incidents, many were not and have been all but forgotten other than by their families who have been left to pick up the pieces of broken lives and carry on as best they can.

“Sinn Fein should remember these people the next time they talk about respect and equality.”

Sinn Féin Respond To UUP Attack

A Sinn Féin spokesperson relied to the UUP attack saying: “Republicans recognise that there was hurt throughout all the community as a result of the conflict, and the Good Friday Agreement affirms that everyone has a right to remember their dead in a respectful and dignified manner.

“There is no hierarchy of victims.

“Peter McNulty’s death was a huge personal loss for his family and the nationalist community in the area.

“Republicans will continue to honour our patriot dead and show our solidarity with their families, friends and neighbours as we respect the right of all others who suffered as a result of the conflict to also remember their loss.”