Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has apologised to the Oireachtas for a Tweet linking the War of Independence with a Provisional IRA attack during the Troubles.
The Public Accounts Committee Chairman (PAC) said the Tweet was “insensitive” and fell below the standards of the Dáil.
He told the PAC that he did not aim to glorify violence with the Tweet but was trying to highlight the fact that a lot of suffering had followed the “disastrous decision to partition the country almost 100 years ago.”
“On Sunday, I apologised for any offence that I caused due to the insensitive nature of the tweet and I want to repeat that apology to you here today.
“I also want to apologise to all my colleagues for the position that I put you all in.
“My Tweet fell below the standards, not just the standard that we expect of each other but the standard that I expect for myself as a member of the Dáil and for that, I am genuinely sorry.”
Fine Gael TD Colm Burke said he accepted the apology but called on Deputy Stanley to make a full statement to the Dáil.
That call was echoed by his party colleague Jennifer Carroll McNeil who said the Tweet had hurt ‘survivors who are alive today.’
Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said the tweet had an impact outside the Republic and called for a fuller response from Deputy Stanley.
Fianna Fáil TD Paul McCauliffe said the apology should have been made to those who were impacted by the Tweet.
In his Tweet, which has now been deleted, Deputy Stanley said the 1920 Kilmichael Ambush in County Cork and the 1979 Warrenpoint Ambush in County Down were “two IRA operations that taught the elite of the British Army and establishment the cost of occupying Ireland.”
The Kilmichael Ambush, carried out a week after Bloody Sunday in 1920, saw the Irish Republican Army killing 17 members of The Auxiliaries in an ambush near the village of Kilmichael in County Cork.
The Warrenpoint Ambush saw the Provisional IRA setting off two roadside bombs at Narrow Water Castle in August 1979, killing 18 British soldiers and injuring more than 20 others.
One civilian was killed and one was injured.
“What I was attempting to do was highlight that, following the disastrous decision to partition the country almost 100 years ago in the wake of event such as Kilmichael, that we still had conflict that went on for a long time and a lot of suffering took place,” said Deputy Stanley.
“I deleted the Tweet and I apologise for posting it.
“As we work to advance reconciliation on our island, we need to be able to talk about the past in a way that is honest to each other and to our beliefs but also that does not deepen division or cause hurt.
“As an Irish Republican and as someone in a position of political leadership, I have to be more aware of my responsibility to do nothing that is disrespectful to others.”
He said he has actively supported initiatives to bring about peace on the island since the mid-1980s.