Deputy Frank Feighan
Sinn Féin representatives in Leitrim must clarify whether they support comments from their colleague Aengus O’Snodaigh who wrongly described the Provisional IRA as ‘Óglaigh na hÉireann’, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Sligo Leitrim TD and Minister of State Frank Feighan said it is time Sinn Féin recognised there is only one Óglaigh na hÉireann in this country – the Irish Defence Forces- and claims to the contrary are inaccurate and unacceptable.
Minister Feighan said: “Last week, Sinn Féin Deputy Aengus O’Snodaigh referred to the Provisional IRA as Óglaigh na hÉireann in an interview on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta on Tús Áite.
“When speaking about a reported proposed amnesty for terrorists and British soldiers for horrific events that occurred during the Troubles, Deputy O’Snodaigh said, ‘For the most part, Óglaigh na hÉireann have admitted what they have done, whether it was a bad attack or one they thought was good.'
“The continued use of ‘Óglaigh na hÉireann’, the Irish language title of the Irish Defence Forces, by Sinn Féin TDs when discussing the Provisional IRA is an affront to the proud men and women who serve our country at home and abroad with great pride and distinction.
“Several Sinn Féin representatives have made this slight against the Irish Defence Forces, yet we have heard nothing from their party colleagues in Leitrim on the matter.
“Their silence suggests that they fully endorse these remarks, which is completely wrong and cannot be tolerated in a country where democratic values are sacrosanct.
“The fact Sinn Féin is perpetuating this falsehood should come as no surprise, as we have seen previously how they honour those responsible for acts of terrorism and violence on this island.
“It is now time not only for the Sinn Féin leadership, but for representatives and members in Leitrim, to stop comparing terrorists and those orchestrating violence to our Defence Forces who serve this country so bravely and proudly.
“Let me be very clear on this. There is only one Óglaigh na hÉireann in this State – our Defence Forces. Nobody else has the right or honour to use that title. It is a cornerstone of our country.
“Sinn Féin and it’s representatives must clarify whether they recognise the Irish Defence Forces? Does Sinn Féin recognise Óglaigh na hÉireann as the official and only army in the State?
“Given these recent remarks it appears they don’t and the people of Leitrim need to be aware of this,” Minister Feighan concluded.
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