A former member of the IRA last night said Jeremy Corbyn’s open show of support helped prolong the terror group’s campaign of violence.
Sean O’Callaghan said the Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell should publicly apologise ‘for the murder and torture they encouraged and thereby prolonged’.
Their public solidarity for Sinn Fein leaders and senior IRA figures spurred on the terrorists, deepened their blood lust and increased the number of their victims, he said.
Campaign: Jeremy Corbyn with former Labour deputy prime minister John Prescott (right) during General Election campaigning in Hull
‘IRA men and women, many young and hopelessly politically naïve, derived great encouragement from the solidarity openly displayed by Corbyn, McDonnell and their associates,’ he told The Sun.
‘I know, I witnessed the effect. They might not have pulled the trigger or planted a bomb but they certainly made it easier for those who did.’
Mr O’Callaghan, 63, was a member of the IRA from 1974 to 1988. He was jailed for two murders before becoming an informant.
Mr Corbyn, who is engulfed in a spiralling row for repeatedly refusing to unequivocally condemn the IRA, took part in at least 72 separate events with pro-Republican groups while the IRA was active.
Yesterday he was accused of insulting victims of the Troubles last night after he refused to describe IRA murderers as terrorists. The Labour leader would only say he condemned ‘all acts of violence in Northern Ireland from wherever they came’.
He also praised the ‘bravery’ of republican and unionist leaders who put down their arms for the peace process.
It comes after Mr Corbyn refused five times to explicitly condemn the IRA in a TV interview on Sunday.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (pictured with Mr Corbyn in 1995), said the Labour leader was ‘on the right side of history’
GREENS: WE’LL INCREASE AID SPENDING TO £18BN A YEAR
UK foreign aid spending would increase to more than £18billion a year under Green Party plans.
The Greens launched their unashamedly Left-wing manifesto yesterday with proposals to hike foreign aid spending, limit the working week to four days, and continue to allow unlimited EU migration.
Britain currently spends 0.7 per cent of its national income on foreign aid. Green proposals would see the target increase to 1 per cent, sending the bill soaring from around £13billion to more than £18.5billion.
The party’s co-leaders, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, said the document was a ‘message of hope’.
To pay for the plans, billions in extra funds would be raised by abolishing the cap on National Insurance contributions, taxing financial transactions, squeezing top earners and hiking corporation tax to 28 per cent.
The Greens also promised a second referendum on Brexit, including an offer to stay in the European Union.
Many of the policies mirror pledges made by Labour, such as abolishing tuition fees, fuelling Tory claims the Greens would be prepared to help Jeremy Corbyn get into Downing Street.
Yesterday’s comments sparked outrage from victims of terror attacks, while Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said the Labour leader was ‘on the right side of history’.
Mr Adams added: ‘What he did was very modest. What he did was very fundamental. He recognised the rights of the people who voted for Sinn Fein. I think he was vindicated by subsequent events.’
Mr Corbyn’s defence spokesman, Nia Griffith, made clear that she disagrees with him during a debate in London yesterday.
She said: ‘I’m not going to speak for my leader. But I can certainly tell you as someone who is old enough to remember the Troubles in Northern Ireland and had friends who served in Northern Ireland, I absolutely unequivocally condemn the IRA bombings in Northern Ireland.’
As Mr Corbyn addressed supporters in Hull yesterday morning, a journalist asked him if ‘the acts of the IRA should be condemned unequivocally? And do you unequivocally condemn the IRA as terrorists?’ He dodged the question, saying: ‘I condemn all acts of violence in Northern Ireland from wherever they came.’
Mr Corbyn is engulfed in a spiralling row for repeatedly refusing to unequivocally condemn the IRA
He added: ‘I think we should recognise that peace was achieved by a lot of bravery both in the unionist community as well as in the nationalist community.
‘People have walked a very difficult extra mile when they were under pressure from their communities not to do so.’
HEIR TO BLAIR SAYS HE NO FAN OF JEREMY
The Labour candidate standing for Tony Blair’s old seat said he is ‘no supporter of Corbyn’ in a bid to appeal to voters.
Phil Wilson, who is hoping to be re-elected in Sedgefield, County Durham, said he would oppose the Labour leader if necessary. He has held the seat since Mr Blair stood down in 2007.
Writing on his re-election Facebook page, Mr Wilson said: ‘Your vote here on June 8 will only decide who is your local MP – not who gets to be the Prime Minister. I am no supporter of May and I am no supporter of Corbyn.’
He is one of several Labour candidates refusing to use Jeremy Corbyn’s name on the doorstep because of the Labour leader’s unpopularity with voters.
He is being opposed by Tory candidate Dehenna Davison, who said: ‘Phil Wilson just can’t have it both ways … Every Labour MP that is elected takes Jeremy Corbyn one step closer to No 10.
‘If Wilson is not for Corbyn, he should not have put himself forward as a Labour candidate with Corbyn as his leader.’
Hours later, in a desperate attempt to limit the damage from his remarks, Mr Corbyn’s aides published a statement which stated that IRA ‘acts of murder’ should be condemned unequivocally and that the IRA ‘clearly committed acts of terrorism’.
However, it sparked demands for the Labour leader to state his position in public. Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland claimed Mr Corbyn had ‘wanted the IRA to win’.
DUP leader Arlene Foster rejected his claim that he had spoken to the IRA to try to further the peace process.
She told the Mail: ‘He actually supported them. He wanted the IRA to win.’
She added: ‘He was a cheerleader for the IRA. He was caught up with the perpetrators of violence without any thought for the victims of violence.’
Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, said: ‘How can IRA terrorists possibly be described as brave?
‘Anyone who makes such crass remarks should be condemned. It is insulting and simply unacceptable.
‘It hurts victims to the core, and wounds us as a family.
Security minister Ben Wallace, who served in Northern Ireland, said: ‘It is a disgrace that a man who wants to be prime minister cannot describe the IRA as terrorists, and to suggest otherwise is an insult to the victims and relatives whose lives were devastated by the IRA’s murderous campaign of violence.’