After the recent protests against attacks on the Welfare system and  tax breaks for the wealthy elite, which have taken place outside a number of Provisional Sinn Fein and DUP offices, two Provisional Sinn Fein councillors have since made worrying remarks via social media about the protests and those who attended them.

The IRSP want to take this opportunity to formally state that all the allegations made by these two individuals are untrue and baseless.

Cllr Jim McVeigh has claimed that he had been “contacted by a Protestant gentleman from East Belfast” further stating that one of the protesters at the Falls Road picket was a “former Loyalist from East Belfast, who was convicted of domestic abuse and who was more recently expelled from the Shankill for selling drugs”. He then requested that the IRSP or Unite in the community confirm this.

The IRSP want to make a number of points about these allegations originating from Jim McVeigh.

Firstly we would ask…Why did he not check whether or not his “source” was credible?

The individual that Jim McVeigh referred to in a photograph of the picket was a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, born and raised on the Falls Road where he has always lived. Furthermore, he has no connections to criminality in any sense, historically or at present.

Jim then proceeded to use the very emotional issues of domestic abuse and drug dealing to try and create a negative picture in people’s minds of the protesters. This underhand black propaganda method of using domestic abuse by Mr. McVeigh is shameful, to say the least, and for a politician to use this tactic shows distinct lack of compassion for the victims of domestic abuse.

Mr. McVeigh should now admit that his “source” either exists or is a fragment of his vivid imagination. His use of the term “Protestant” also leaves us perplexed; Did he use the sectarian term to try and make his lies seem more believable?

In response to Mr. McVeigh’s lies, Councillor Ciaran Beattie then posted that the protesters “Are from a group of misfits who are up to their necks in criminality having the audacity to protest outside our party offices!”

Mr. Beattie needs to explain these comments. The branding of these protesters as “misfits” and “criminals” amount to claims which he must now substantiate or withdraw.

Many of the protesters were political ex-prisoners. Perhaps to Mr. Beattie this is what makes them misfits and criminals in accordance with his political outlook today?

Far too many political ex-prisoners are suffering from the impact of years of imprisonment by the British. Many are struggling daily to cope with the physical and mental consequences of their participation in the ongoing struggle against imperialism in Ireland. For Mr. Beattie to call them “misfits” shows the levels he is prepared to stoop down to in blackening the names of those political ex-prisoners who had the “audacity to protest outside” on the doorsteps of ‘Britain’s Tory Puppets’.

Mr. McVeigh has removed his lies from social media. Does this mean he accepts that his “source” was wrong all along? Considering Jim McVeigh is clearly backtracking, will he now apologise for attempting to discredit union activists who dared to express their disgust and opposition to this latest phase of Tory assault on the working class?

Maybe these “followers of James Connolly” may even explain to the working class community why they have accepted a deal which could have been inspired by Thatcher herself.

In conclusion, the IRSP will not be drawn into petty bickering by any Provisional Sinn Fein members on the issue of this protest and will continue to challenge the pro-Tory establishment parties that do the dirty work of Downing Street.