Belfast Telegraph

McGuinness to attend IRA service

By Debra Douglas
26 February 2005

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness will attend an IRA commemoration service tomorrow, despite continuing pressure on the party to break its links with criminality.

Just one week after Gerry Adams appeared beside men and women in paramilitary uniforms at an IRA memorial in Strabane, Martin McGuinness will attend a parade and commemoration service for IRA volunteers Henry Hogan and Declan Martin in Dunloy.

The men were killed in a gun battle with undercover soldiers 21 years ago.

Local DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said Mr McGuinness's attendance at the rally was further proof of the intrinsic link between Sinn Fein and the IRA.

"This clearly indicates that there is no distinction between Sinn Fein and the IRA. Sinn Fein are unprepared and incapable of divesting themselves from their republican military wing, the driving force behind their political agenda.

"The IRA are the oxygen by which Sinn Fein lives, they need to remove the mask and learn to breathe without them.

"Sinn Fein tell us that anyone involved in criminal activity or subversive acts has no place in the republican movement but Mr McGuinness is happy to attend a service for two men who were on a mission to take out members of the security forces, that is illegal and immoral activity.

"Mr McGuinness has no conscience when he says their actions were honourable."

But Sinn Fein MLA and local councillor Phillip McGuigan said the commemoration service was important.

"People have not nor should not forget the sacrifices that the likes of Henry and Declan have made.

"In the current political climate I think it is more appropriate than ever to defend this struggle and send a very clear message that all attempts to criminalise the struggle or to criminalise the mandate of Sinn Fein will fail.

"It will fail because of the sacrifices of young men and women like Henry and Declan and because of the support that now exists to finally bring an end to the causes of conflict."

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