Coveney lambasts 'really insensitive' tweet from Sinn Féin TD

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said such comments needed to be "consigned to history".
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James Ward, PA

Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has described a controversial tweet by Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley as “really insensitive” and “a very stupid thing to tweet.”

Mr Coveney's comments come after Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster said she is to write to the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil regarding an inflammatory Twitter post sent by Mr Stanley on Saturday.

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

The post has since been deleted, but was blasted as “shameful” by the DUP leader.

Mr Coveney told RTÉ radio's Morning Ireland that as an experienced TD and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Stanley “should know better than this".

The Minister added this was “another case of the mask slipping” with a member of Sinn Féin “coming out with this bile.”

Mr Coveney said Sinn Féin needed to make a clear statement on the issue and that “these type of comments need to stop” adding they were “really unhelpful and insensitive”.

In the tweet, Mr Stanley wrote to his 3,700 followers: “Kilmicheal (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 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 the provisionals blew up a fishing boat off the coast of Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, which killed Louis Mountbatten, a second cousin to Queen Elizabeth.


First Minister Arlene Foster said she will write to the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil over the tweet by Brian Stanley. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/PA

On Sunday, Ms Foster responded furiously to the tweet, and signalled her intention to raise it with the Dáil.

She tweeted: “I will be writing to the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil about this shameful tweet.

“Although deleted, it is outrageous that someone with such warped views can hold a senior position in the Dáil. SF talk about respect & equality but there’s not much sign of respect for victims.”

Mr Stanley has since apologised for the tweet saying it was "inappropriate and insensitive". Sinn Féin also commented on the matter, saying there is a responsibility to commemorate the past in a respectful manner.

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