THE SINN Fein Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone, Councillor Phelim Gildernew, has chosen not to comment on a strongly worded letter from the family of an IRA volunteer who was shot dead over 20 years ago in an ambush by the SAS.
Written by Andrew Ryan, whose brother Peter was one of three IRA men killed by British soldiers in the village of Coagh in 1991, the letter is highly critical of Cllr Gildernew’s involvement in the launch last month of the Tyrone IRA Volunteers Day.
Mr Ryan says Cllr Gildernew’s “recent charade rubs salt in the wounds of those of us who daily mourn the loss of family members”.
Andrew Ryan states in his letter: “On Friday evening 6th July from the local council office Phelim Gildernew the Sinn Fein Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone launched what he described as Tyrone IRA volunteers day and a programme of events to commemorate Martin Hurson and all other volunteers of the IRA’s Tyrone brigade killed in the Brit dirty war in Ireland.
“Gildernew boasts Tyrone has been at the forefront of the armed struggle and in the same breath asks us all to join with him during these events in recommitting ourselves to the struggle.
“Is Gildernew just politicking in an attempt to fool the gullible and those who it suits to be fooled or what struggle is he talking about? Does he not agree with his leader Martin McGuinness who said the struggle was over and to confirm this and his commitment to the Union and partition he shook hands with Mrs Windsor and flanked by her unionist heavyweights Sir Hugh Orde and Peter Robinson under the Union Jack denounced republicans and appealed for information to lead to their capture and imprisonment.
“Bearing such treachery in mind it is sheer hypocrisy and deceit for Phelim Gildernew to speak of the loss of our patriot dead and his concern for their loved ones. Gildernew and his cronies signed the unionist veto on the reunification of Ireland and betrayed everything our patriot dead fought and died for.
“His most recent charade rubs salt in the wounds of those of us who daily mourn the loss of family members who gave their lives for the promised objective of a 32 county democratic republic and not a regurgitated partitionist Stormont.
“On behalf of the Ryan family from Ardboe I wish it to be known by Sinn Fein, the Gildernews and their ilk that in future we no longer want to see Pete’s name being used and dishonoured by those who sold the cause for which he died.”
When contacted by the Tyrone Times about the contents of the letter, Cllr Gildernew said he did not wish to make any comment.