Carla Lockhart MP challenged Secretary of State Chris Heaton Harris to take forward measures at Westminster to outlaw the glorification of terror. In his response, the Secretary of State said this was a devolved matter.
Emma Little-Pengelly said,
"Rita O'Hare was an "On the Run". She was wanted for serious terrorist activity in Northern Ireland. The victims of her actions remain without justice. She was a convicted terrorist who remained deeply proud of her actions until her death. To see these actions lifted up and praised will have caused much hurt to victims of terrorism across all communities.
Everyone has a right to mourn loss and remember however a funeral should not be an event to glorify evil activities. Sinn Fein have used the opportunity to eulogise and praise criminal and terrorist activity. Just a few weeks after condemning the terrorism of others, this hypocrisy is galling to the thousands of victims of IRA terrorism and of all such acts from whatever paramilitary organisations.”
Carla Lockhart said:
“I challenged the Secretary of State to outline what the Government intends to do to stop the glorification of terrorism. For the Secretary of State to wash his hands and say “it’s a devolved matter” is pathetic and shameful. This is the same government who has legislated on a swathe of fully devolved matters.
On each occasion that republican or loyalist bloodshed is glorified, victims weep and are re-traumatised. Clearly this is not something that resonates with the NIO given the Secretary of State’s dismissive and incorrect answer. His words also contrast with the Prime Minister who has told us that “we cannot allow a political culture to emerge where people think its harmless fun to glorify the violence of the past”.
The DUP has sought to introduce legislation in parliament to outlaw the glorification of terrorism. It is high time the Government stepped up and called this out but also took action to stop it and give real effect to the Prime Minister's words. A society that hero worships and glorifies the terrorism of the past is destined to create terrorists in the future.
Rewriting history is a huge danger which is why I was equally disappointed and concerned to see the BBC NI website initially headline this terrorist as a “Sinn Fein strategist”. It will be interesting to see how BBC NI reports the self-proclaimed “First Minister for all” carrying a terrorist’s coffin and being present whilst the terrorist was eulogised and exalted.”