The brother of a man murdered in Kingsmill has branded Michelle O’Neill’s comments that there was no alternative to the IRA campaign as “disgusting”.
olin Worton’s sibling Kenneth was one of 10 Protestant workers shot in the 1976 atrocity.
He said: “There was always an alternative to violence, the IRA simply chose not to use it.
“The alternative to killing people is not killing people, it’s as simple as that. No one, on either side of the divide, should have chosen the gun or the bomb. No one should have killed another.
“Kingsmill wasn’t about shooting gunmen in a fair fight. My brother and his friends were armed only with lunch boxes and thermoses.”
Mr Worton said the comments illustrated Sinn Fein’s mindset: “It’s a very narrow one. For 30 years the IRA was married to the bomb and the bullet and Sinn Féin is still trying to justify it. I don’t think they will ever change.”
Ms O’Neill’s comments were made during an interview for the BBC’s Red Lines podcast.
The Sinn Fein vice-chairman, whose father was an IRA prisoner, said one of her earliest memories was of the sound of army vehicles pulling up to the front door as her family’s home was being searched.
She said: “I don’t think an Irishman has ever woken up one morning and thought conflict was a good idea, but war came to Ireland.
“I think there was no alternative then, but luckily now we have an alternative to conflict and that is the Good Friday Agreement and that is why it is so valuable to all of us.
“My entire adult life has been building the peace process. I wish the conditions that actually led to conflict had never been there, I wish so many people hadn’t had the horrible experiences they had during the days of conflict.
“The only way we can ever build a better future is to understand that it’s okay to see the past differently.”
She added, “My narrative is very different from someone who may have lost a loved one to Republicans.
“But we have to be mature enough to be able to say, ‘That’s fine, we have to agree on that, but let’s make sure the conditions we’re in in this scenario never exist again’.”
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “There has never been a justification for violence.
“Even in Northern Ireland’s darkest days, the overwhelming majority of our people respected democracy, the rule of law and took part in peaceful protests where they were passionate about a cause.”
He said while Ms O’Neill had been talking about being a first minister for everyone, “the mask has really slipped”.
He added: “Hundreds of our citizens of all faiths and backgrounds have been ruthlessly targeted by the IRA. You were completely innocent.
“They did not stand in the way of the political cause that Sinn Féin champions to this day, yet they were slaughtered by terrorists.
“No circumstances, whatever the day or generation, have justified this.”
TÜV Council Member Stephen Cooper said: “The claim by the chairman of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland that there is ‘no alternative’ to IRA terrorism is a telling insight into the mindset of someone who claims she wants a First Minister for all be.”
Victims activist Kenny Donaldson also condemned the comments.
“Whatever grievances (perceived or real) people have experienced in this society, they have never legitimized the murder of one neighbor by another,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/you-think-my-brother-had-to-die-michelle-kingsmill-victims-anger-at-oneills-claim-there-was-no-alternative-to-ira-violence-41889000.html “Do you think my brother had to die, Michelle?”: The Kingsmill victim’s anger at O’Neill’s claim that there was “no alternative” to IRA violence