Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley briefly breaks silence on Provisional IRA bombing tweet

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley

Laois Offaly Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley is in the eye of the storm

Sinn Féin's Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley has briefly broken his silence over the tweet about the killing of British soldiers in a Provisional IRA bomb attack during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The TD provided some further explanation to the Leinster Express on Monday after we asked why he tweeted, would he resign or was he going to be sacked?

He declined to answer the questions but instead opted to reply via a written statement.

“The tweet referred to the historical record and the repercussions for Britain and Ireland of these two events in the 1920s and the 1970s along with the tragedy of decades of conflict associated with the British colonisation of Ireland. I have apologised for the Tweet,” he concluded.

Apart from the attack by the PIRA on the British Army near Warrenpoint in 1979, Dep Stanley's tweet also highlighted the Kilmichael Ambush in Co Cork in 1920 in which 18 British soldiers were killed during the War of Independence by the old IRA.

In the tweet, he said it was a 'pity for everyone that they (British) are such slow learners'.

In the statement on Sunday issued by Sinn Féin, Dep Stanley is quoted as saying he is sorry.

“I apologise for the content of an inappropriate and insensitive tweet I sent yesterday (Saturday),” he said.
A spokesman for the party said: “We note that Brian Stanley has deleted a tweet that was inappropriate and insensitive, and that he has apologised.

“We all have a responsibility in this Decade of Centenaries to remember and commemorate the past in a respectful manner”.

The North's First Minister Arlene Foster has questioned Dep Stanley's suitability to remain as Chairman of the powerful Dáil Public Accounts Committee because of what she described as warped views.

Responding to the overall situation Laois Offaly Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan said he was not unexpected.

"While I’m disappointed with Brian Stanley’s latest comments. Sadly, I’m not surprised," said the former Minister for Justice and Foreign Affairs. Dep Flanagan declined to say if Dep Stanley should step aside as Chair of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.

The Oireachtas information office says the authority to remove Dep Stanley as PAC chair rests with Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin President. Dublin front bench Sinn Féin TD Eoin O Broin said the party is not considering taking further action at this point.

Dep Stanley topped the poll in Laois Offaly in the 2020 General Election and was one of the party's breakthrough candidates when he first won a Dáil seat in 2011. His victories in 2020 and 2011 coincided with losses in the constituency for both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.