"Not only did Mary let herself down she let the many innocent afghan people down who have been murdered by the so called troops"
For those that don't watch the X Factor, Mary Byrne, a contestant on the show had been voted off. When asked to recall her highlights of the experience, she said that meeting the troops who had recently returned from Afghanistan was her best. Clearly, this offended Mr Maskey greatly. He has every right to be offended, of course, but I just want to establish what it was that so offended him.
I have had a quick trawl through Google but can't seem to find anything from Mr Maskey that seems to demonstrate his condemnation of troops in Afghanistan extends from British troops to those of France, Germany, Poland Spain or any of the other coalition forces currently engaged in that particular theatre. For sure, I can't find any condemnation of American troops but then I can't imagine SF's American supporters would be happy with that (in the same way that most of Sinn Fein's American friends are blissfully ignorant of their socialist credentials). It leads me to assume that his problem isn't primarily the conflict in Afghanistan, but with British Forces.
This is not an altogether surprising view for a Shinner to hold, obviously, but it doesn't make it right. Lets consider that of the troops fighting in Afghanistan right now, the overwhelming majority were still in school when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. Most of them have never served or even been to Northern Ireland and if they have it was most likely as tourists. So it is fair to say that these individuals have never done anything to Paul Maskey or his constituents. That makes his attack one based on the institution they belong to.
The problem for Mr Maskey is that they belong to a perfectly legitimate institution and one that nearly every country in the world boasts, including the Republic of Ireland. Does he have the same opinion of the 7 Irish Troops in Afghanistan? I doubt that even if he did, he would voice it. It takes courage to voice an opinion unpopular with your electorate.
Mr Maskey's comments are based almost entirely on his dislike for the British Army but unfortunately for him his dislike is outdated, irrelevant and bigoted. He fits in well in Stormont because of it.