Michelle O’Neill defends decision to attend Clonoe IRA commemoration

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Sinn Fein’s new leader in Northern Ireland has marked the deaths of four IRA men shot dead by the SAS in 1992.

Michelle O’Neill said there should be no hierarchy of victims as she clutched a candle in memory of those who died in a churchyard in Clonoe.

Mrs O’Neill said: “These were four ordinary young men who faced extraordinary challenges.

“And they responded in defence of their community and also of their country.

“They never went looking for war, but it came to them.”

The republican leader was addressing a vigil in memory of Patrick Vincent, Sean O’Farrell, Peter Clancy and Barry O’Donnell.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said Mrs O’Neill was wrong to attend, but was not surprised.

However, Mrs O’Neill has defended her decision to speak at the event.

She said:”There are some who would say we have no right to remember or to honour them, we have absolutely every right.

“Everyone, it doesn’t matter who you are, has the right to remember their dead in a respectful and dignified manner.”