Northern Ireland news

Pearse Doherty unsure if he would have joined the IRA

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty says he is not sure if he would have joined the IRA. PICTURE: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Seamus McKinney

Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty has said he’s unsure if he would have joined the IRA during the Troubles if he was old enough.

The west Donegal politician said he hoped he would have had the “courage” to stand up for his community had he been on the streets of Derry in 1970.

Mr Doherty (42) was speaking after his party leader, Mary Lou McDonald said in an interview at the weekend that there was “every chance” she would have joined the IRA had she been raised in Northern Ireland.

READ MORE: IRA campaign was justified says Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald

A member of the new generation of Sinn Féin politicians, Mr Doherty is the party spokesman on finance.. Following the retirement of former Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, Mr Doherty was among those mentioned as a possible party leader before Mrs McDonald was elected.

Mr Doherty said he hoped he would have opposed the British army but was unsure if he would have volunteered to join the Provisionals.

“If I was a teenager, would I have that courage? I couldn’t ever suggest that I could say yes or no,” he said.

The Gweedore TD said it was difficult to know what he would have done had been on the “streets of Derry’s Bogside in 1970”.

“If I was there in 1916, I hope I would have been inside the GPO. If I was there a couple of years before, I hope I would be there supporting the Lockout (1914). If I was on the streets of Derry in the 1970s when the British army swarmed in, I hope I would be standing up defending my community,” he said.

However, Mr Doherty said the important thing was that he was a member of Sinn Féin now and that the “gun has been taken out of Irish politics” because of the peace process.

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