SF defends ‘offensive’ party paper

SINN Fein has defended the contents of a newsletter which was delivered to houses in Banbridge after it sparked complaints from some local residents.

An Edenderry man contacted the Leader to express his outrage at some of the content of the news sheet which features an interview with prominent Upper Bann republican Leo Green.

The man, who did not wish to be named, accused the party of “glorifying terrorism”.

“I don’t object to receiving bulletins from political parties as I recognise we’re on the run-up to an election, but this went too far,” said

“It contained an interview with a former terrorist who was sentenced to life in prison in 1977. That is unacceptable to me and I would rather not receive something like that through my door. It causes offence almost to the point of intimidation.”

Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd said the interview with the 1980 hunger striker was simply a first-hand account of “an important period in Irish history” which was not intended to cause offence.

“Nothing within the article could be even remotely construed as controversial or threatening but we would nevertheless welcome the opportunity to have a frank and open debate with anyone who wants to offer a different analysis on the period and invite them to contact us at our Assembly offices or by calling us on 028 38 349675.

“While some may not like the prospects for the political future that Leo proffers in the article the only group that could possibly find offence with this material are the members and supporters of those micro-groups opposed to the Peace Strategy,” added Mr O’Dowd.