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Social media video Eoin Ó Broin says 'all sides have right to honour dead', following Thomas McElwee tribute

The party posted a video on social media to honour Thomas McElwee, who died on hunger strike 40 years ago

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Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin

Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin

Sinn Féin's Eoin Ó Broin

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin is comfortable with his party commemorating an IRA man whose firebomb caused a woman to be burnt alive.

The party posted a video on social media to honour Thomas McElwee, who died on hunger strike 40 years ago.

The video made no mention of McElwee being convicted of the manslaughter of Yvonne Dunlop (26) in a 1976 blast.

Mr Ó Broin said yesterday all sides should be allowed to honour their war dead, but any glorification or championing of conflict events in the future would be wrong.

However, he added that Fenian leader Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa had "invented the idea of urban guerrilla warfare, or as many people would call it, urban terrorism".

"The President of Ireland headed up that commemoration and laid a wreath," he said.

"Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Labour Party all commemorate people who actively used violence in the course of the struggle for Irish freedom over the last century.

"All communities, both in the North and across the island, have the right to commemorate their dead during the course of conflict.

"That poses huge challenges because if one community commemorates somebody who died - for example in the hunger strike - that can cause pain and grief for the families who were the victims of IRA violence. I'm very conscious of that."

But he said families who lost loved ones during the conflict, "including the families of IRA volunteers", had a right to remember and commemorate.

"It's not easy, but I think that's just a fact of life. So am I comfortable with the commemoration (of Thomas McElwee)? Yes. Have I participated in such commemorations in the past? Yes.

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"But I would urge anybody organising such commemorations to be mindful that while consoling one family you can cause hurt for another."

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