Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has refused to withdraw his “highly offensive” comments in the wake of the Smithwick Tribunal report, saying it was nonsense to suggest he blamed the RUC officers for their own deaths.
However, he repeated his view that the IRA gunmen who murdered the two constables in Mar 1989 were carrying out their duty.
He said his comments that the officers had a ‘laissez-faire” attitude to their own security reflected those of the Smithwick report, which raised concerns about the security arrangements in place for Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan.
“I don’t need reminders from anyone that there are victims and the nonsense of suggesting that I was blaming these men for their own deaths, there was never a question that the IRA killed them and it was a brutal killing,” he said.
“I’ve made my position clear. I stand over the accuracy of the fact that those officers were at risk and I drew that from the report.
“I didn’t make it up. It’s in the report.
Mr Adams insisted the attack happened in the middle of a war and he thought both the RUC officers and the IRA were doing their duties.
When asked by the Irish Examiner if the IRA was carrying out its duty when it murdered Mr Breen as he waived a white handkerchief and attempted to surrender, Mr Adams replied: “I’m not going to deal with that.”
His views, which were backed up by the party’s justice spokesperson Padraig Mac Lochlainn, have caused widespread condemnation with the solicitors for the families described them as “appalling”.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter described the remarks as “nauseating” while Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers said they were offensive and insulting.
Yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said no one had a duty to murder anybody and the IRA did not have a duty to murder the two RUC officers.
He said the image of Mr Breen waving a white handkerchief and trying to surrender reminded him of the iconic photograph of Fr Edward Daly who did the same as he escorted the injured to safety during Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.
He said Mr Adams should listen to what people were saying and withdraw his remarks and apologise.
Referring to Mr Mac Lochlainn’s comments that the IRA fought a legitimate war against an apartheid, sectarian state, the Fianna Fáil leader said he was “angry” at Sinn Féin’s attempts to “re-write history” and said people in areas such as South Armagh and Belfast had told him life would have been a lot more tolerable if the IRA had not have engaged in violence.
Meanwhile, Mr Mac Lochlainn has claimed he was “stitched-up” on the Vincent Browne Show as the host and the other three guests were “against” him.
He said he has received nothing but messages of support since the broadcast.
The Smithwick Tribunal found an unidentified IRA garda in Dundalk station tipped off the IRA that the RUC officers were attending a meeting in the town on the day of the murders, Mar 20, 1989.
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