A British peer this week compared Sinn Féin with the Muslim Brotherhood during a debate on national security.
Mark Schreiber, a Conservative peer styled Lord Marlesford in the House of Lords where he made the comparison, said Sinn Féin was a “rather similar outfit” to the Islamist organisation.
Mr. Schreiber alleged the Muslim Brotherhood’s relationship with violent jihadi groups was akin to Sinn Féin’s former relationship with the IRA.
“The Government really have to review the status and the position of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain. Its links with jihad are not unlike those that Sinn Féin once had with the IRA in Ireland; it is a rather similar outfit,” he remarked.
During the same debate, Tom King, now Lord King of Bridgwater, who served as Secretary of State for the North from the mid to late 1980s, said he was glad he didn’t have to deal with IRA suicide bombers.
“I am struck enormously by the totally different situation that we face here. Thank goodness we never had suicide bombers, who introduce a totally different range of possibilities of assault,” he said.
Mr. King also contrasted the IRA’s campaign of the 70s and 80s with violence perpertrated by jihadists now, saying he believed the republican movement was responsive to public opinion while most jihadists were intent only on affronting and disgusting Western sensibilities.
“Sinn Féin/IRA, as it was then, was sensitive to public opinion to an extent. It did not want to lose morale and tried to enlist more and more support from the nationalist community. I remember particularly the huge damage that was done to it by the attack at Enniskillen - noble Lords will remember the number of people killed at a Remembrance Day service. That was a huge public relations setback for the IRA and Sinn Féin at that time. The terrorists that we face now seem not to mind at all the outrage committed in the cause that they seek to serve,” he said.
Cork-born, Home Office Minister , Susan Williams, who became Baroness Williams of Trafford after failing to get elected in Bolton West in 2010, said: “Lord King talked very interestingly about Northern Ireland never having had suicide bombers - that is so true - and said that they were at least sensitive to public opinion. I do not know how sensitive they were to public opinion, but certainly after the events of Enniskillen there was a big backlash and they thought long and hard.”