TUV objects to Books of Condolence for Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness

The TUV has objected to the opening of Books of Condolence in the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The facility has been made available by SDLP Mayor Alderman Maura Hickey following the death of the senior Sinn Fein figure on Tuesday.

Alderman Maura Hickey.

Alderman Maura Hickey.

Alderman Hickey said: “As Mayor I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere condolences upon hearing the news of the passing of former deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness. I know many people will be shocked and saddened by his death. I want to extend my sympathy to Mr McGuinness’ wife, children and his family circle.”

Books are available for members of the public to sign at council’s headquarters in Coleraine and at offices in Ballycastle, Ballymoney and Limavady, from 10am today (Wednesday, March 22) to March, 29 at 4pm.

However, the TUV has branded the action “an insult to victims”.

In a joint statement Councillors Boyd Douglas and William Blair and Alderman Sharon McKillop said: “The decision of the SDLP Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens to open a book of condolence to self-confessed IRA commander McGuinness is an unnecessarily divisive act.

“It is insulting to many victims of IRA violence who have had to listen to nauseating praise of someone whose wicked terrorist organisation visited death and destruction upon many families in Ulster.

“Quite apart from the suffering of those who lost loved ones and those who carry the physical scars to this day there are many families across Northern Ireland where invisible physiological wounds cause anguish. In many cases this is only known about by those who are closest to them.

“We do not recall the council opening a book of condolence to mark the passing of an IRA victim after years of suffering.”

The statement went on to urge other unionists to join the TUV in seeking to call in the decision to open the books.

“Decisions such as this should at least go before the council group leaders meeting - if not the full council – so that controversy and offence are avoided.”