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Orlando massacre: Lord Mayor leads tribute to shooting victims

By Angela Rainey

Published 14/06/2016

Sorrow: Belfast’s Lord Mayor Brian Kingston signs the book of condolence for the 49 victims
Sorrow: Belfast’s Lord Mayor Brian Kingston signs the book of condolence for the 49 victims
Alderman Hilary McClintock, Mayor of Derry, signs the book of condolence for the 49 victims

Expressions of sympathy for the victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre have been paid in at a book of condolence at Belfast City Hall.

Residents and tourists flocked to send their sympathies to those murdered in cold blood.

A total of 49 people were shot dead and 53 were injured in Pulse Nightclub in Orlando Florida by Omar Mateen, (29) early on Sunday morning. He was later shot dead by police.

People queued to sign the book yesterday. Signatories included sisters Alyson Cundiff (22), and Carolyne Teteak (26), from Seattle, Washington, on a day trip north from Dublin.

Psychology student Alyson said there should be more rigorous checks in America, including psychological tests, on those who are intending to buy guns.

"It's absolutely incredible to come to Belfast and find there was a book of condolence," said Ms Cundiff.

"We heard the news in our hotel room and it was a shock as more and more information floods through. It makes it so real and close to home. It's a complete tragedy, especially as the FBI and CIA knew him - there needs to be tougher regulation of those wanting to buy guns, like having to go through the police, like you do here."

Also there to write their condolences were colleagues Courtney Robinson (18) and Josie McIntyre (31), from east Belfast.

"It's shocking and uncalled for - something like that should not happened in this day and age," Courtney said. "Fundamentalism on any grounds is not acceptable and needs to be opposed."

Civil servant Marty Stevenson (41) who married her partner Mariska a month ago in Scotland said she felt compelled to send her sympathies.

"I lived in North Virginia for 12 years so I have lived through some of America's atrocities," she said. "Regardless of someone's race, creed, sexuality or which part of the community they identify with, this is crazy. But it's great to see people unite and send their support to America, it shows progress has been made here though there may be a way to go yet."

The book is available in the foyer of Belfast City Hall.

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