Cllr Brian Tierney: "Instead of lecturing people being shot in their streets about the international order, People Before Profit would be better offering some help."
A fiery exchange of words has broken out between the SDLP and People Before Profit (PBP) over the current Ukraine-Russia war.
Cllr Brian Tierney of the SDLP and Cllr Shaun Harkin of PBP – who are both running as candidates in next month's Assembly Election – have fired verbal shots across the bow to each regarding the latter's stance on sanctions against Russia.
The SDLP man accused PBP of abandoning the principle of international solidarity by not supporting sanctions against Vladimir Putin's regime in Moscow while Cllr Harkin has responded by slamming Cllr Tierney's party of selective solidarity and having previous on looking the other way with regard to other worldwide conflicts.
Branding PBP as “a disgrace” for their stance, Cllr Tierney said: “Given all that has happened in Ukraine in the last few weeks and months it is hard to fathom how anyone could react with anything other than solidarity with (Ukraine President) Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his people who have shown such courage in the face of unwarranted Russian aggression.
“The decision by the leadership of People Before Profit to oppose sanctions in the face of evidence of war crimes in Bucha, Kharkiv and across the region is, frankly, a disgrace.
“It’s particularly appalling that at a time when ordinary Irish people on both sides of the border are doing everything they can to raise humanitarian aid and get help to those fleeing Russian aggression that People Before Profit have chosen to act towards the Ukrainian President in this way.
“People from right across this island, including my party colleague Paul Doherty, have travelled to Ukraine to help respond to the humanitarian crisis unfolding.
“Instead of lecturing people being shot in their streets about the international order, People Before Profit would be better offering some help.
“This is the true face of a party that claims to want to help people on our island, but has delivered little. People Before Profit supported the Brexit that has caused huge political upheaval on our island without a thought for the impact it would have on local communities.
“In Derry, its representatives couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to protect families from a rates increase despite the current costs crisis and now it seems they’re more interested in debating society politics, than the people suffering unimaginable hardships as a result of Putin's monstrous crimes.”
Cllr Harkin hit back by labelling the SDLP as being “unhinged” and “self-serving” and insisted that PBP have consistently opposed war wherever it has taken place.
He said: “The SDLP are becoming increasingly unhinged. Given the massive humanitarian response across Ireland and the world to the plight of Ukrainian refugees it's exceptionally self-serving for the SDLP to imply they are the only ones who care.
Cllr Shaun Harkin of People Before Profit: "Why is the SDLP so quiet when it comes to solidarity with Palestinians crushed by Israeli apartheid's permanent war?"
“People Before Profit have a consistent anti-war record whether it's opposing Putin's barbarism in Ukraine, Chechnya, and Georgia or the US/British destruction of Iraq.
“A consistent anti-war position opposes warmongering by all the big military powers.
“Why is the SDLP so quiet when it comes to solidarity with Palestinians crushed by Israeli apartheid's permanent war or Yemenis on the receiving end of the savage Saudi war backed by the US and Britain?
“The SDLP had no problem cheerleading for war profiteers Raytheon. They backed up the DUP's effort to criminalise solidarity with Palestine in Stormont. They're silent on NATO's role in ramping up militarisation of Ukraine and Eastern Europe.
“The SDLP's reactionary political partners, Fianna Fáil, are attempting to utilise the suffering of the Ukrainian people to undermine Irish neutrality.
“Fianna Fáil, and it appears the SDLP too, want to fully align the South with NATO's military objectives. This is the opposite of international solidarity.
“Ordinary people in Russia are crucial to stopping Putin's war on Ukraine and to toppling his billionaire dominated regime.
“This is the kind of international solidarity NATO/EU masters of war have no interest in.”
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