Sinn Féin must deal with 'ongoing attempt to justify 30 years of violence' — Martin

Taoiseach hits out at the lack of atonement from Sinn Féin over atrocities committed in North during Troubles
Sinn Féin must deal with 'ongoing attempt to justify 30 years of violence' — Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin TD during the Shared Island forum at Dublin Castle where he outlined a new programme of North-South and all-island investment projects. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said Sinn Féin needs to deal with its justification of punishment beatings and other crimes during and after the Troubles in the North.

Speaking in Dublin, Mr Martin said the party led by Mary Lou McDonald must deal with its “ongoing attempt to justify the past and justify the 30 years of violence and some terrible atrocities”.

He said while Sinn Féin, at times, rightly identifies areas that need redress, and to be dealt with by the British government, the party has failed to look inwardly at its own leadership role.

Referencing work done by academics in relation to the trauma visited upon a young generation in the North, Mr Martin hit out at the lack of atonement from Sinn Féin.

“Young people who were kneecapped and so-called punishment beatings — you reflect on the physical and emotional trauma visited upon young people in the North, yet no one ever hears of any attempt to reach out or to reconcile or to atone, and say that was wrong. We shouldn't have done that. I think Sinn Féin needs to deal with that,” he added.

Shared Ireland Fund

The Taoiseach was speaking at Dublin Castle where he announced more than €50m in funding for a range of Shared Island partnership programmes.

Mr Martin outlined that over the last two years the Government has allocated over €140m from the Shared Island Fund for various projects.

"We are ready to do far more with a new Northern Ireland Executive and with the UK government to invest collaboratively, in new ways, and at an unprecedented scale. Our goal is to create a more connected, sustainable, and prosperous island, for all communities,” he said.

The announcement was Mr Martin's last formal engagement with the programme before he is replaced by Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar on December 17.

Mr Martin said €10m would be provided for a cross-border peatland restoration programme led by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, along with an investment of €1m for a new all-island invasive species and biosecurity partnership.

More than €7m will be provided to tourism agencies to progress collaboration between the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route.

"We are committing €12m for development of a new innovation hub in the North-West next year to take up the real untapped potential of deeper cross-border enterprise links.

"Given the success and impact of the North-South Research Programme, we've allocated a further €10m from the Shared Island Fund, for the second call to commence next year. Supporting more strategic institutional connections in higher education across the island."

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