Belfast Telegraph

New York’s mayor silent for year over Gerry Adams honour protest letter

Gerry Adams (left) with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at a St Patrick’s Day function honouring the former Sinn Fein president last year
Gerry Adams (left) with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at a St Patrick’s Day function honouring the former Sinn Fein president last year
Kenny Donaldson
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

A top US politician who honoured Gerry Adams has still not acknowledged a letter of complaint from bereaved relatives - a year after it was sent.

Six victims' families wrote to Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York, after he renamed St Patrick's Day 2018 in celebration of the former Sinn Fein leader.

However, a year after they wrote to the mayor, he has yet to acknowledge it or issue a reply.

Victims' campaigner Kenny Donaldson accused him of treating people affected by IRA violence with further contempt.

The row dates back to last St Patrick's Day when Mr de Blasio hailed Mr Adams' recognition of the "power of peace" and named it 'Gerry Adams Day'.

This infuriated relatives of people who died at the hands of the IRA. Some wrote to the mayor, accusing him of "callous disregard" for their feelings.

They demanded a public apology, a face-to-face meeting and for the award to Mr Adams - who has always denied being in the IRA - to be withdrawn.

The letter was signed by six people from both communities and was sent on March 26, 2018.

However, Mr Donaldson said that a year on, there has been no response from Mr de Blasio or his office. Attempts to contact him have also been ignored.

It comes amid a further row after the Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, posthumously honoured Martin McGuinness earlier this month for "courageous service in the military". She later apologised for "the pain this certificate has caused".

Mr Donaldson said: "This time last year we had cause to write to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to raise objections with a decision he made which had the impact of sanitising terrorism. New York Mayor de Blasio crudely renamed St Patrick's Day as 'Gerry Adams Day'.

"Mayor de Blasio then compounded the wrong of what he had done by treating innocent victims and survivors of Provisional IRA terrorism with further contempt - he refused to engage with us, he did not respond to our public request for response and nor did he respond to the countless letters and emails sent to him and his office."

Mr Donaldson said politicians in the US needed to be more mindful of the IRA's crimes.

Mr de Blasio did not respond to requests for comment.

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