SF’s Michelle O’Neill to speak at Loughgall ‘martyrs’ parade

The leaflet advertising the Loughgall 'commemoration'

The leaflet advertising the Loughgall 'commemoration'

Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill has been slammed after it was revealed she will speak at a parade this weekend commemorating the eight IRA terrorists killed by the SAS at Loughgall.

O’Neill will be the guest speaker at what Sinn Fein has called the ‘Loughgall Martyrs 30th Anniversary’, leaving from Altmore Chapel in Co Tyrone on Sunday.

The eight IRA men shot dead by the SAS at Loughgall

The eight IRA men shot dead by the SAS at Loughgall

Members of the heavily armed IRA gang died when the SAS ambushed their attempt to blow up Loughgall RUC Station on May 8, 1987.

DUP MLA William Irwin said Mrs O’Neill’s decision to speak at the event is another demonstration the Sinn Fein leader does not demonstrate the respect she demands of others.

He said: “Since her appointment by Gerry Adams, Michelle O’Neill has sought to speak only to a very narrow republican base. Over the last few months there has been no evidence of any desire from Sinn Fein’s new leader to demonstrate the respect she demands from others.

“There certainly is little respect demonstrated to the victims of IRA terrorism, choosing instead to describe a group of men who went out with the sole intention of murder and mayhem as ‘martyrs’.”

The bullet riddled Hiace van in which eight IRA men were shot dead by the SAS outside Loughgall RUC station in 1987

The bullet riddled Hiace van in which eight IRA men were shot dead by the SAS outside Loughgall RUC station in 1987

Mr Irwin added: “Right from her first statement as leader within a pre-packaged Sinn Fein video Michelle O’Neill chose to focus on members of the IRA, including those at Clonoe and Loughgall instead of issues which impact on all of the people of Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein’s refusal to restore devolution is again because they have placed their own narrow interests ahead of issues such as health, education and the well-being of all our citizens.

“Sunday’s event is another confirmation that Michelle O’Neill appears to place a much greater priority on reaffirming republican attempts to rewrite the past than on building a better future for all of society.”

Sinn Fein is planning to mark their deaths with another two events in County Tyrone in May.