Hardline unionists seek exclusion of Sinn Féin

Hardline unionists have called for Sinn Féin's exclusion from politics in the North following a court decision to overturn the acquittal of the so-called Colombia Three.

Hardline unionists have called for Sinn Féin's exclusion from politics in the North following a court decision to overturn the acquittal of the so-called Colombia Three.

A court in the South American nation yesterday decided to jail Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan for 17 years each for training anti-government rebels.

The three Irishmen, who all have republican connections, had originally been found not guilty of the charge last April.

Responding to yesterday's ruling, Ulster Unionist MP David Burnside said: "Sinn Féin have lied through their teeth the whole way through this whole exercise, including the involvement of their representative in Cuba.

"It is time that both [unionist] parties wised up and looked at a political process in Northern Ireland without Sinn Féin.

"It's time we accepted the proof that republican Sinn Féin leadership still have a terrorist threat, still are involved in widespread criminality throughout the whole of Ireland, and have links with international terrorist organisations.

"They are not fit to be in the government of Northern Ireland."

The Democratic Unionist Party's Ian Paisley Jnr, meanwhile, said: "I think that this decision has far wider ramifications than just what's happening in the judicial system in Colombia.

"Let's face it, Sinn Féin, psychologically, are still a war machine. Their activists are across the world engaging in war activities and I think that that says an awful lot for the political process here."

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