20 February 2018
DUP MLA Peter Weir has called on Sinn Fein to remove a “Tiochfaidh Ar La” badge in the shape of an Armalite rifle and to make clear such glorification of terrorism is unacceptable. The call comes following Mary Lou McDonald’s claim that her use of the IRA slogan at the end of her speech to the Sinn Fein ard fheis was an attempt to “reclaim language”.
The Strangford MLA said, “Mary Lou McDonald’s claim that shouting IRA slogans is some attempt to “reclaim language” is not only insulting but doesn’t stand up to basic scrutiny. Sinn Fein should explain how offering “Tiochfaidh Ar La” badges in the shape of an Armalite rifle “reclaims language”?
Evidently, the new President of Sinn Fein is more focused on tipping her hat to the republican backwoodsmen than on showing respect to victims of PIRA terrorism.
Sinn Fein ‘weaponised’ the Irish language. The choice to shape the words in the image of a rifle was a deliberate one. Despite her words Mary Lou and her party are happy to wallow in the past. Her choice to attend an IRA commemoration as the first public appearance in Northern Ireland after being nominated as Sinn Fein President was again deliberate.
Sinn Fein outrage would be fever pitch if were any unionist party to sell items glorifying loyalist killers on their website. Yet again however it is a case of Sinn Fein believing they can operate to different standards than they demand of everyone else.
If Mary Lou McDonald and her party truly wishes to move forward then Sinn Fein should remove the badges from their website. The Party President could also issue a clear statement that it is inappropriate and offensive to wallow in the sectarian murder campaign of the IRA.
I would also like to hear from the Irish language lobby groups. Do they believe it is is appropriate for Sinn Fein to host such items on their website? Do they accept that such use of the language by republicans in this way is politicising the language?”