Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Mayor Finucane to 'reach out to unionists' by laying Somme wreath

Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane.
Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane.

The Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane will lay a laurel wreath at City Hall in remembrance of those killed at the Somme.

John Finucane, who will lay the wreath on July 1 to remember those from Belfast who were killed during the First World War battle, said the event is an opportunity to reach out to unionists and loyalists.

He will also chair the Special Council meeting at 10.45am on the same morning to endorse the Somme Resolution.

The resolution accords the council's gratitude to the "brave men of the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division and other forces" for their bravery during the battle.

"When I became Mayor of this city, I said I would be a Mayor who will represent all of the people in this city - regardless of political allegiance, gender, religious belief or none, ethnic background or sexual orientation," he said.

“I believe it consolidates and builds upon the initiatives taken by former Sinn Fein Mayors and Deputy Mayors of Belfast to reach out to the unionist and loyalist people of Belfast.

“It clearly shows that republicans are committed to engaging with unionists and loyalists and that we are prepared to meet them on common ground.

“This is what making peace is all about. I am keen to show the continued commitment that republicans in this city have to building bridges into the unionist and loyalist community.

“I believe we need to have an open and rational debate about how civic institutions commemorate these events in our shared past in an inclusive fashion.“

The Sinn Fein councillor, whose solicitor father Pat was murdered by paramilitaries 30 years ago, was told by police that loyalists were planning to attack his family home the day after he was sworn in as Mayor.

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