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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Sinn Féin councillor clarifies that comments were not calling for a 'return to violence'

Tony McCaul made the comments over the weekend as part of a Facebook thread.

Councillor Tony McCaul
Councillor Tony McCaul
Image: Chris Roberts

A SINN FÉIN councillor has hit back this evening after reports that he had suggested a return to violence could not be ruled out.

Reports in Northern Ireland today stated that Tony McCaul, a member of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, had made the comments as part of a Facebook thread.

While in a discussion with former-IRA prisoner Thomas ‘Dixie’ Elliot on the page of journalist Malachi O’Doherty on 6 March, McCaul said:

That ever is expedient at the time. Republicans can never rule out any tactic including violence. I now believe politics is expedient,that view could change if circumstances change.

The comments were made in a discussion with Elliot in which Councillor McCaul was defending his party’s support for the peace process and its involvement in electoral politics.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this evening McCaul stated that he is fully committed to Sinn Féin’s position, and emphasised that he hadn’t joined the party until after the peace process was underway.

“I’m Sinn Féin and I stand up for the direction we’re taking. People may not love us but they shouldn’t spin things to make it look really bad for us,” he said.

His intention had been to defend the peace process but this had resulted in him coming off “ten times worse” than the person he was arguing with.

He said that he had made the comment while contrasting the republican movement in the 1970s, when violence was more commonplace, and the current political republican movement.

A spokesperson for the party this evening stated that McCaul had already clarified his position in a follow-up Facebook post on his own page.

Read: THE COMEBACK KIDS – the TDs from Bertie Ahern’s last government who are back at the top table

Also: How the three main parties lost their stranglehold on Irish politics – in just a decade

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