| 6.4°C Dublin

Pressure mounts Brian Stanley apologises again for Troubles tweet as he faces calls to make Dail statement

Close

30/11/2020 ****FILE PHOTO **** 20/08/2019 Brian Stanley TD during a Sinn Fein press brieifng at Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

30/11/2020 ****FILE PHOTO **** 20/08/2019 Brian Stanley TD during a Sinn Fein press brieifng at Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

30/11/2020 ****FILE PHOTO **** 20/08/2019 Brian Stanley TD during a Sinn Fein press brieifng at Leinster House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

SINN Féin TD Brian Stanley has said he is "genuinely sorry" for his controversial tweet about the deaths of British soldiers in Ireland.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman made the renewed apology at today's meeting of the Dáil's spending watchdog.

He was subsequently criticised by PAC members from other political parties and Fine Gael TDs called for him and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald to make a statement to the Dáil as well.

On Saturday Mr Stanley posted to his 3,700 Twitter followers: “kilmicheal (sic) (1920) and narrow water (1979) the 2 IRA operations that taught the elite of (the) British army and the establishment the cost of occupying Ireland. Pity for everyone they were such slow learners.”

Kilmichael in Co Cork was an IRA ambush in 1920 in which 17 Auxiliaries died. Three members of the War of Independence IRA also died in the attack.

Eighteen members of the British army were killed in the Provisional IRA ambush at Narrow Water near Warrenpoint in 1979.

The tweet sparked outrage from IRA victims and unionist politicians.

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster wrote a letter of complaint to Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl about Mr Stanley's social media post.

Today Mr Stanley told the PAC: "I want to address the issues surrounding the tweet that I published over the weekend, marking the hundredth anniversary of the Kilmichael ambush in Co Cork.

"I'm very conscious, as the chair of the Public Accounts Committee that the controversy has placed you all in a difficult and totally unnecessary situation particularly as this committee has such important work to carry out.

"What I was attempting to do was to highlight that following the disastrous decision to partition the country, almost 100 years ago, in the wake of events, such as Kilmichael that we still had conflict that went on for a long time and a lot of suffering took place.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

"I deleted the tweet and I apologised for posting it."

He added: "As we work to advance reconciliation on our island we need to be able to talk about the past in a way that is honest to each other, to our beliefs, but also that doesn't deepen division or cause hurt.

"As an Irish Republican and as someone in a position of political leadership I have to be more aware of my responsibility to ensure that I do not do anything that is disrespectful to others."

He said he supported efforts to achieve peace in Ireland since the mid-1980s.

"On Sunday I apologised for any offence that I caused due to the insensitive nature of the tweet and want to repeat that apology here today.

"I also want to apologise to all my colleagues for the position that I put you all in.

"My tweet fell below the standards, not just a standard that we expect of each other, but the standard I expect for myself as a member of the Dáil and for that I am genuinely sorry."

He asked if the committee wanted to move on to its business but several TDs made statements on the matter.

While some accepted his apology, others were highly critical of his tweet.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy