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Controversial tweet by Brian Stanley a one-off mistake, says Sinn Fein president

Mary Lou McDonald said she is confident it will not happen again.

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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Niall Carson/PA)

Mary Lou McDonald said she will not remove party colleague Brian Stanley as chairman of an Oireachtas committee over his controversial tweet.

The Sinn Fein president said the tweet was a “one-off mistake” that will not be repeated.

Mr Stanley, a TD for Laois/Offaly, sent a tweet on Saturday celebrating two historical IRA attacks on the British army.

He has since apologised for the now deleted comment.

Mr Stanley, who is also chairman of the Dail’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), sent the tweet on the centenary of the Kilmichael ambush in 1920.

He understands that it was ill-judged and that the tweet has caused upset and unnecessary controversy and for that he has apologisedMary Lou McDonald

He wrote to his 3,700 followers: “Kilmicheal (sic) (1920) and Narrow Water (1979) the 2 IRA operations that taught the elective of (the) British army and the establishment the cost of occupying Ireland. Pity for everyone they were such slow learners.”

The tweet received widespread condemnation from across the political landscape.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has written to the chair of the Dail about the incident.

Ms McDonald said that Mr Stanley is very apologetic, adding that it was a “regretful” attempt to drawn comparison between two separate incidents.

“He understands that it was ill-judged and that the tweet has caused upset and unnecessary controversy and for that he has apologised,” Ms McDonald told RTE Morning Ireland.

“He has apologised and withdrawn the tweet. That’s the most important thing for me.

“I can assure you this was a singular, one-off mistake and one that will not be repeated.”

Ms McDonald said she will not remove him from his role on the PAC.

“He’s very effective, he’s even-handed and a fair chair,” she added.

“It’s a very important committee and he will address it with his colleagues when they meet on Wednesday.

“He’s more than fit to chair this committee. He’s a very steady, low key kind of individual and very competent and experienced. He will continue with that work.”

She said the tweet was “clumsy”.

“I am confident it will not happen again,” the party leader added.

The Kilmichael ambush was an attack carried out by the IRA during the War of Independence in which 17 members of the Royal Irish Constabulary Auxiliary Division were killed.

The Narrow Water ambush took place during the Troubles and saw 18 British soldiers killed by the IRA near Warrenpoint, in 1979.

The attack took place the same day that provisionals blew up a fishing boat off the coast of Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, which killed Lord Louis Mountbatten, a second cousin to Queen Elizabeth who served in two world wars.

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