DUP criticise Sinn Fein over refusal to commemorate Northern Ireland centenary

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has come under criticism for refusing to commemorate the centenary of the establishment of Northern Ireland.

Democratic Unionist Party MLA Christopher Stalford said Sinn Fein was once again demanding respect from everyone, but was affording it to no one.

His comments came after Ms McDonald said the party would not be taking part in any official events to mark the 100th anniversary.

DUP MLA Christopher Stalford (Liam McBurney/PA)
DUP MLA Christopher Stalford (Liam McBurney/PA)

The party leader told the Irish Times that Sinn Fein did not celebrate the partition of Ireland, describing it as the moment unionists “secured their ‘wee statelet'”.

Mr Stalford said Ms McDonald’s reference to Northern Ireland as a “wee statelet” was another example of the party’s disrespect.

“Her words relating to Northern Ireland belie a viciousness that many unionists have come to recognise from Sinn Fein over recent times,” he said.

“Long gone it seems are the days of the Sinn Fein President referring to her ‘unionist brothers and sisters’.

“Instead we are back to Sinn Fein demanding respect from everyone, but affording it to no one.”

Ms McDonald also said she would not wear a commemorative poppy, despite her party’s presidential candidate, Liadh Ni Riada, saying she would wear the poppy if elected.

Unionist parties including the DUP are planning a series of events in 2021 to mark the anniversary of the formation of Northern Ireland.

The DUP has also called for a public holiday to be declared in Northern Ireland to commemorate the anniversary.

In 2016, DUP leader Arlene Foster was criticised by Sinn Fein and the SDLP for refusing to attend the centenary commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising.

- Press Association

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