O'Neill accused of 'trying to rewrite the past' over Clonoe commemoration

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill
Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill

DUP MLA Keith Buchanan has accused Sinn Fein's new leader in the north of "trying to rewrite the history of the past" in advance of her planned attendance at a commemoration event tonight.

Michelle O'Neill is due to attend the 25th commemoration of four men who were shot dead by the SAS in an ambush at Clonoe Chapel after they attacked Coalisland police station.

But Mid Ulster DUP candidate Keith Buchanan has said her promise to help "heal the hurt of the past" should be judged against "continued republican attempts to rewrite the past and her commemoration of four IRA terrorists at an event in Clonoe".

Mr Buchanan said: "Sinn Fein have talked repeatedly about respect over recent weeks, but once again we see a lack of respect for the victims of IRA terrorism.

"It is become abundantly clear over recent weeks that Gerry Adams has reasserted his authority over Sinn Fein and Michelle O’Neill is trying to advance that narrow republican agenda.

"One of the key aims of Sinn Fein is to rewrite the history of the past," he added.

"The current election has been called by Sinn Fein because they think they can exploit the RHI scheme in order to advance Gerry Adams’ agenda. That includes the persecution of soldiers and police officers whilst whitewashing the activities of the IRA.

"It also includes an attempt to increase the number of nationalist MLAs returned to Stormont as an excuse to demand a border poll be called.

"We must not forget that 90% of deaths during the troubles (49% of which have been attributed to the IRA in a statistical breakdown on Troubles deaths) were at the hands of terrorists.

"Republicans want to exploit the current crisis to see the focus placed entirely on the state and to have soldiers and police officers placed in the dock," Mr Buchanan went on.

"This event gives people an insight into exactly what Sinn Fein have to offer the people of Northern Ireland.

"The election will be close and it is a clear choice between a strong DUP standing up for Northern Ireland and for the victims of terrorism, or a Sinn Fein led government where Gerry Adams will call the shots and push his radical agenda."