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Sinn Féin's John O'Down criticised over attack condemnation

John O'Dowd condemned the suicide bomb but faced criticism. Picture by Hugh Russell

FORMER Stormont education minister John O'Dowd faced criticism on the airwaves yesterday after he went on radio to condemn the Manchester Arena bombing.

The Sinn Féin Upper Bann candidate was among a number of politicians who spoke about Monday night's attack at the Ariana Grande concert during yesterday morning's Nolan Show on Radio Ulster.

Mr O'Dowd said his thoughts and prayers were with the families of those killed and injured in the suicide bombing.

"It's horrific, it's disgusting, it's unjustifiable," he said.

"It's an attack on children – this was a children's concert – whoever carried out this attack was deliberately targetting children."

But Mr O'Dowd's condemnation was not well received by one caller, who described the Sinn Féin representative's remarks as an "affront".

Ivan from Coleraine said: "I cannot comprehend how John O'Dowd and Sinn Féin have the nerve to come on the radio and condemn bombings and things like this after the atrocities they have carried out."

The IRA was responsible for bombing Manchester's Arndale Centre in 1996 and for killing 12-year-old Tim Parry and three year-old Johnathan Ball in bomb attacks in Warrington in 1993.

Presenter Stephen Nolan pointed out that Mr O'Dowd was a representative of a political party with a democratic mandate.

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