Sunday, April 23, 2006


Sinn Féin in British Legion row

SF stuck two fingers up at the Legion I was very disappointed to learn courtesy of the Belfast Telegraph that Sinn Féin councillors in Antrim have refused to lend their support to a motion designed to recognise the charitable contribution that the Royal British Legion has made to the area.

Ex-Mayor Mervyn Rea, who officially tabled the motion, said he was "delighted" to put it before the chamber, adding that the Legion richly deserved the council's highest honour.

But Sinn Fein's Henry Cushinan refused to offer support.

He revealed that his party group would not be backing the motion - but his justification provoked howls of protest.

He suggested the decision to honour the Legion was overtly political, adding that it had come at a sensitive time for republicans:

"Let's not forget that there are two traditions in this borough.

"My tradition cannot support the Royal British Legion. My tradition have their own way of remembering their dead in their own way with the Easter Lily."

But former SDLP man Oran Keenan disagreed:

"I've no problem supporting the motion.

"I've travelled across England and visited various branches of the British Legion, and it's only in Northern Ireland that there is a problem between different traditions.

"It is a charitable organisation and it supports people of all colours and all creeds. We should show some respect."

This was echoed by SDLP councillor Thomas Burns, who agreed that they had done "some tremendous work over a long period of time".

Alliance leader David Ford welcomed the "broad acceptance" among members - but voiced disappointment that it was not unanimous:

"I regret that Councillor Cushinan and his colleagues cannot bring themselves to support this."

Mr Rea argued that the republican abstention flew in the face of the views held by former Sinn Fein representative Martin Meehan.

He told the chamber that the former IRA man had told him that he was keen to visit the battlefields of the Somme to visit the grave of his grandfather - an ambition he later fulfilled:

"Here was someone from the other side, someone who was fairly bitter, who recognised that both sides fought and lost," said the UUP man.

The conferment ceremony is set to take place on June 24.

My my, what a stupid and immature stance Mr Cushinan and his party have taken! What's this nonsense about "My tradition does this..." and "My tradition does that..."? Apparently Sinn Féin want a United Ireland yet they are coming out with divisive crap like this?

Last week in Dublin the Irish people paid tribute not only to the Easter rebels who died during the Easter Rising but also to British soldiers as well as civilians. We showed that we can all honour the dead in a mature and fair fashion. Sinn Féin would do well to reflect on that and learn from it.

At least the SDLP showed a bit of cop-on but idiotic stuff like this from Sinn Féin just leaves me scratching my head and according to Mr Rea, the former Sinn Féin representative Martin Meehan had actually made an effort to take the other tradition into account which just makes this even worse!

For crying out loud if the British Legion have been doing good work then honour them and get over this narrow-minded anti-British baloney.

If Sinn Féin want to be "king makers" here in the South in the words of Michael McDowell, then they ought to cut out this kind of nonsense because down here, BS like this isn't going to do them any favours.


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