Anger over IRA bomber ‘hero’ comments

TUV leader Jim Allister.
TUV leader Jim Allister.

A hunger strike commemoration for an IRA man who bombed Ballymena has been criticised by North Antrim TUV Assemblyman, Jim Allister.

The TUV leader said that weekend comments made by co-First Minister McGuinness were noteworthy.

“He lauded IRA hunger striker Thomas McElwee, attending a commemoration in his honour in Bellaghy on Sunday and describing him as a ‘hero’ on social media.

“While Republicans seek to build a mythology around the hunger strikers they don’t look very glamorous when considered in the cold light of day. McElwee was serving 20 years for a Ballymena firebomb which resulted in 26-year-old Yvonne Dunlop being burnt alive in her clothes shop. Some hero!

“Some might recall that in August 1981 the people of Ballymena raised £800 to send Mrs Dunlop’s three children to London to meet Ken Livingstone who was then leader of Greater London Council so that he could see first hand what McElwee, who he had described as “not a criminal but a freedom fighter”, was responsible for.

“Sadly now we live in a Northern Ireland where Unionists partner those who regard McElwee and his ilk as “freedom fighters” and “heroes” in government!”