Sinn Féin TD to commemorate ‘evil and sectarian killer’ who tried to murder Arlene Foster’s father in terrorist gun attack

A Sinn Féin TD will be the keynote speaker tonight at a commemoration for an “evil and sectarian killer” who tried to murder Arlene Foster’s father.

Provisional IRA terrorist Seamus McElwain is blamed by the Northern Ireland First Minister for a near-fatal gun attack on her father.

Sinn Féin will hold a commemoration tonight for a Provo who was responsible for murder and attempted murder of Protestants along the Monaghan-Fermanagh border. Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy will be the keynote speaker at an online event tonight called ‘A celebration of the life of volunteer Seamus McElwain’.

McElwain was shot dead by the British Army in 1986 as he tried to ambush an Army patrol near Roslea, Co Fermanagh. Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Seán Lynch, who was wounded alongside McElwain in 1986, will also speak.

Ms Foster has previously expressed her anger at Sinn Féin’s rewriting of the past and tributes to McElwain.

McElwain was a member of the IRA’s south Fermanagh brigade, and was previously linked to at least 10 murders. On April 26, 1986, McElwain and Lynch had been preparing a huge landmine to ambush an Army patrol on the Lisnaskea to Roslea road. However, the SAS was waiting for them and opened fire on the pair, killing McElwain.

Sinn Féin describes McElwain as “one of Monaghan’s bravest sons” and say that he.was “assassinated by British forces”. An inquest jury returned a verdict that McElwaine had been unlawfully killed as the soldiers opened fire without giving him a chance to surrender, and that he was shot dead five minutes after being wounded.

Lynch was seriously wounded and spent four months in hospital before being jailed for 25 years for possession of explosives and a rifle. He was released in 1998 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and elected a Sinn Fein MLA for Fermanagh-South Tyrone in 2011.

In a BBC interview five years ago, Ms Foster said she believed McElwain attempted to murder her father, John Kelly, in 1979. The part-time policeman was shot in the head by the IRA at the family farm near Roslea, but he survived the attack.

“McElwain was a notorious gunman. He was behind the murder and attempted murder of many Protestants along the Fermanagh border. I am led to believe that he was the man who came to murder my father. He is not someone to be remembered in any warm way. He was, as the judge said, a dangerous killer.

“McElwain was shot as he was planning to murder soldiers. Had he not escaped from the Maze Prison, he wouldn’t have come into contact with the SAS. Whilst at his funeral he was labelled as a freedom fighter, he is remembered locally as an evil and sectarian killer,” she said in 2016.

Two months ago, Sinn Féin was forced to cancel a commemoration for an IRA terrorist, who died when the bomb he was carrying in London exploded prematurely. Edward O’Brien from Wexford, was 21.


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