Sinn Féin slams council over no book of condolence for McGuinness

Martin McGuinness. Picture by Lorcan Doherty Press Eye
Martin McGuinness. Picture by Lorcan Doherty Press Eye

Sinn Féin councillor Anne Marie Logue has hit out after Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council refused to open a book of condolence for Martin McGuinness.

Expressing her disappointment, Cllr Logue said: “On behalf of myself and councillors Henry Cushinan and Michael Goodman, I want to express deep disappointment at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s refusal to open a book of condolence to mark the passing of Martin McGuinness.

“In a time of widespread mourning for the loss of an icon in Irish politics, a man whose personal contribution to peace and reconciliation has been acknowledged and honoured across the political spectrum, this decision is frankly beyond belief.

“It flies in the face of the respect shown by other councils and political institutions the length and breadth of this island. Furthermore, and importantly, it denies ratepayers the opportunity to give expression to a genuine feeling of loss which is evident throughout the wider community.”

The Airport DEA representative added: “Martin McGuinness proved himself worthy of the praise of world leaders, and political opponents alike. His legacy as an architect and ardent defender of the peace process, and his unflinching determination to reach out to everyone regardless of constitutional aspirations, political allegiance, religious persuasion, cultural identity, sexual orientation or ethnic origin, earned him the respect of all sections of our community.

“The decision of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council to deny the people of this borough a book of condolence is therefore at odds with wider society. It represents the type of regressive mindset which is the very antithesis of all that Martin McGuiness stood for. Shame on those responsible.”

Commenting on the issue, a spokesperson for the local authority said: “Last week the Mayor sent his condolences to the family of former Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and to those affected by the tragic events at Westminster.”

The spokesperson explained that as a mark of respect, a one-minute silence was observed at the full council meeting on Monday, March 27, to acknowledge both events.

A number of unionist councillors who objected to the silence being held as a mark of respect to Martin McGuinness, stood outside the council chamber at Antrim Civic Centre as the one-minute silence was held.