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Sinn Féin's 'revisionist history' is a barrier to progress in the North, says Taoiseach

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill said this week that there was no alternative to violence during the Troubles.
Aug 5th 2022, 5:25 PM 21,676 87

TAOISEACH MICHEAL MARTIN has accused Sinn Féin of “revisionist history” over comments its deputy leader Michelle O’Neill made about the Troubles.

O’Neill said on a podcast this week that there was “no alternative” to IRA violence during the conflict.

She said that an alternative did exist now in the form of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Taoiseach said in a tweet that an alternative “always existed”.

O’Neill, who is poised to become first minister if powersharing government at Stormont is restored, has been strongly criticised by unionists and some victims groups for her comments on the past.
sinn fein 067 Source: Sam Boal/
Martin’s tweet included a link to a BBC News article quoting the brother of a man murdered by the IRA, who said O’Neill’s comments were “sickening”.

Alliance leader Naomi Long said there were democratic and peaceful alternatives to violence.

Long said yesterday: “Thousands of people, including a majority of nationalists, who did not pursue violence to achieve their political aims, are testament to that.

“Indeed, one could argue the use of violence delayed the reaching of political accommodation until 1998, and its devastating impacts are still felt personally and politically to this day.

local-elections Source: PA

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also disagreed with O’Neill, tweeting: “There was an alternative to IRA violence.

“The IRA murdered thousands of its own people, destroyed businesses, ruined young people’s lives by selling them a twisted ideology & put the cause of Irish unity back decades.”

‘Building the peace process’
O’Neill said on the BBC News NI Red Lines podcast that her “whole adult life has been building the peace process.

“I wish the conditions were never here that actually led to conflict.

“The only way we’re ever going to build a better future is actually to understand that it’s OK to have a different take on the past.

“My narrative is a very different one to someone who’s perhaps lost a loved one at the hands of republicans.

“I think at the time there was no alternative, but now, thankfully, we have an alternative to conflict and that’s the Good Friday Agreement, and that’s why it’s so precious to us all.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said there was never a justification for violence, while UUP leader Doug Beattie accused O’Neill of “an attempt to justify the indefensible”.

Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for victims’ organisation Innocent Victims United said: “Whatever grievance, perceived or real, people experienced within this society, it never legitimised the murder of one neighbour by another.”

Additional reporting from PA

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