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Ceann Comhairle tells Arlene Foster that Brian Stanley tweet was 'disrespectful' and requires 'credible political response'

Stanley tweeted on Saturday equating two historical IRA attacks on the British army.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl
Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl
Image: RollingNews.ie

THE CEANN COMHAIRLE has told DUP leader Arlene Foster that a tweet by Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley will require “a credible political response”. 

In a letter to Foster, Seán Ó Fearghaíl said that while he was “personally appalled and profoundly dismayed by its contents” it would not be necessary to take action if the tweet is addressed by Stanley.

Stanley tweeted on Saturday equating two historical IRA attacks on the British army, the Kilmichael ambush in 1920 and the Warrenpoint Ambush in 1979, prompting Foster to to write a letter to the Oireachtas. 

He later apologised and deleted the tweet. 

In his response, Ó Fearghaíl said Stanley’s tweet was wrong.

“Like many political representatives North and South, I was personally appalled and profoundly dismayed by its contents. 

“To post such a hurtful statement on social media is not only highly disrespectful to victims and their families but an affront to all those committed to democratic politics on the island of Ireland,” he said. 

“As elected representatives I believe that we have a shared responsibility to address the legacy of the past in a respectful way, promote reconciliation and support victims and their families. 

“I know that you will agree that it is an enormous privilege to serve as an elected representative and particularly to hold a position of responsibility; however, there is a duty on us all to uphold the fundamental values and standards that are the cornerstones of democratic politics,” Ó’ Fearghail said. 

“I must be particularly conscious of the independent and non-partisan nature of my office. Nonetheless, I do believe that the statement on Twitter made by Deputy Stanley calls for a credible political response – one which sincerely acknowledges the hurt and offence caused to the families who lost loved ones in Narrow Water as well as the hurt and offence caused to those who suffered grievously during the thirty years of violence in Northern Ireland.”

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said earlier she won’t remove Stanley from position as chairperson of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee over his tweet.

There have been calls for Stanley to step down from his chairmanship of the PAC for a period of time over the matter. 

McDonald told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland that “this was a mistake by Brian Stanley and one that will not be repeated”. 

McDonald confirmed she won’t remove him from his position as chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee. 

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She said:

Brian’s a very effective, a very even handed and a very fair chair of the committee. It is, as people know, a very important committee. The work is essential and he is anxious, and I am anxious, that he continues with that work.

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