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Row over claims legendary IRA man was Nazi sympathiser

EMOTIONS have been running high over comments made by a local unionist politician calling a legendary republican figure and leader of the ill-fated IRA attack on Brookeborough barracks a fascist and an anti-Semite.
Local UUP MLA Rosemary Barton issued a statement condemning what she said was the “latest SF glorification of terrorism”, referring to comments made by Sligo-Leitrim TD Martin Kenny at the annual memorial to IRA leader Sean South in Limerick at the weekend.
Best known from the rebel song, Mr South died in the Brookeborough Raid on New Year’s Day, 1957, when the IRA attacked the village RUC barracks. Mr South and fellow IRA man Feargal O’Hanlon died from injuries they sustained in the raid, while a young Catholic constable, John Scalley, was killed in an ensuing gun battle.
At the commemoration in Limerick, Mr Kenny said the raid had helped advance the cause of Irish unity and Mr South was “a legendary figure.” Ms Barton took issue with the comment, stating the raid “was not a brave stand” but “a failed terrorist attack.”
Ms Barton also claimed it had later been said at their inquest both Mr South and Mr O’Hanlon may have been saved if they had not been “abandoned” when she said the IRA fled “across the border again.”
“Yet you won’t hear that in republican ballads or twisted Sinn Fein graveside orations,” she said, stating Mr South was “a bigoted IRA terrorist.”
She added: “Sean South was a terrorist, a well-known fascist and an anti-Semite, and yet Sinn Fein politicians continue to fall over themselves to deliver the annual oration at his graveside.”
Ms Barton went on to compare Mr South to senior IRA man Sean Russell, who died onboard a Nazi U-boat in 1940.
However Brookeborough Sinn Fein Cllr Sheamus Greene, who lives a short distance away from where South and O’Hanlon were found, said Ms Barton’s comments were “a bit rich.”
“Everyone should be allowed to honour their dead with respect,” he said, stating Ms Barton had “a short memory.” He called on her to apologise and said she was “inflaming” sectarian tensions.
Cllr Greene added: “She could do well to remember that Sean South and Feargal O’ Hanlon were living in the times after partition when the Prime Minister of NI was Basil Brooke who said that he ‘wouldn’t let a Catholic about his place’ and the previous NI PM Lord Craigavon said that the North had a ‘Protestant parliament for a Protestant people.’
“These two gentlemen were former leaders of Rosemary’s party who made the Northern state one of the most sectarian states in history. It is an apology Rosemary should be giving to Northern nationalist instead of using this disgusting language to insult dead patriots. The UUP are the people who believe that Nelson Mandela and George Washington were terrorist so Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon are in good company when it comes to the UUP.”
“Let us not forget that the former UUP Stormont education minister ‘Lord Londonderry’ wined and dined Nazi leaders Hitler and Von Ribbentrop in 1936, so I will not take any lesson in history from the UUP or Rosemary Barton who seems to spend her time trying is inflame sectarian tensions with her inflammatory statements.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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