SF defend Guildhall dinner dance
Sinn Fein in Derry have defended the staging of a dinner dance in the city's Guildhall commemorating IRA members who died during the Troubles.
Around a dozen campaigners from the FAIR victims group staged a protest outside the event, organised by the Derry Volunteers Commemorative Committee on Saturday night, claiming the event glorified the actions of the IRA.
Spokesman Willie Frazer said the protest took place as part of a campaign to demand justice for victims of terrorism.
"We will not allow them to present this as some sort of dinner dance to commemorate soldiers in a conflict.
"Because people are going to ask – who are these victims outside the dance? And the answer is that we are the victims whose loved ones were murdered and had bits blown off them by the IRA," he said.
A spokesman for Sinn Fein said around 300 people attended the dinner dance.
"The event has been held for 20 years in local hotels so I don't understand why all the fuss this year," he said.
He rejected any significance in the fact that this was the first time the event had been held in the Guildhall, a “public facility.”
"The people attending are ratepayers and are as entitled to use it as anyone else," he said.
The Sinn Fein spokesman dismissed Mr Frazer's claims that people attending the event had become involved in verbal exchanges with the protestors.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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