Northern Ireland news

Michelle O'Neill says Sinn Féin MP John Finucane to attend South Armagh commemoration

John Finucane (Liam McBurney/PA)
Cillian Sherlock, PA

Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill has said that party MP John Finucane will attend an event billed as the “South Armagh Volunteers commemoration” this weekend.

Victims’ representatives have called on Mr Finucane not to attend the event as they believe it will commemorate the activities of the IRA during the Troubles.

Speaking to RTÉ radio, Ms O’Neill said everybody has a right to remember their dead.


“That was a core part of the Good Friday Agreement.

“So let’s be respectful of the fact that we all have a different lived experience and perhaps even a different perspective in terms of how things have unfolded over the years.

“But let’s be respectful of each other and let’s be mindful of all those people that lost their lives.”

Ms O’Neill, who herself has been criticised for attending events commemorating IRA members killed in the Troubles, said there had been a “complex history” and there was a need to be respectful of difference.

“Many people lost loved ones throughout the course of the conflict and all those losses of life mean there’s a family that are grieving at the heart of that.”

Sinn Fein's deputy leader Michelle O'Neill
Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms O’Neill said while trying to “heal the wounds of the past”, it is important to keep “eyes towards the future”.

“Let’s keep looking towards the future, let’s keep mending hurt of the past, let’s keep trying to build a better society for us all to live side by side and be respectful of our difference.”

Ms O’Neill said Mr Finucane was part of a team looking towards the change of the political landscape on the island over the next 25 years.

“Let’s ensure that we continue to build for the future.”