Footage has emerged of poll-topping Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane shouting “Up the Republic, up the RA and Tiochfaidh ár lá” last night at the end of his speech at a party celebration in Waterford.
Cullinane insisted to reporters today that he had never distanced himself from the IRA and would not be retracting the comments.
“We are a united Ireland party and we have never distanced ourselves from that,” he told the Irish Times. “I do not agree with everything that the IRA did but I would not distance myself from it,” he added.
He later told Newstalk that he was talking about hunger-strikers Bobby Sands and Kevin Lynch when he made the comments.
He said: “There’s obviously a lot of emotion around that period for republicans and I’m someone who would never distance myself from that period and I don’t make any apologies for that.
“We had a very good election here in Waterford and the election was about the future and that’s what I’m focused on.
“But I’m also a Republican and somebody who was always inspired by people like Bobby Sands and Kevin Lynch.”
He added: “I don’t think you could go into a pub anywhere in Ireland where those songs aren’t sung and people can pass judgement on the history of the IRA, can pass judgement on all of that.
“It’s up to the British state to commemorate their dead, it’s up to Irish people to commemorate our dead; many people would commemorate the 1916 rising, for example.”
Mary-Lou McDonald told RTÉ that she had not seen the video, but that Cullinane will “have to explain it.”