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Unionist refuses to join council tributes to Martin McGuinness


Criticisms: Maurice Devenney

Criticisms: Maurice Devenney

Criticisms: Maurice Devenney

An independent unionist branded Martin McGuinness a terrorist during tributes to the former Deputy First Minister at a council meeting.

Derry City and Strabane District Council was meeting for the first time since Mr McGuinness's death on March 21.

After DUP mayor Hilary McClintock began the meeting by offering condolences to the families of Derry City FC captain Ryan McBride and Mr McGuinness, as well as the families of Jack Glenn and Danielle McLaughlin, she opened the floor to tributes from councillors.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP both paid tribute to Mr McGuinness, who died after a short illness.

But Maurice Devenney said the "eulogising" around Mr McGuinness's death had opened up old wounds and "traumatised" IRA victims. He said that he had no problem sending sympathies to Mrs McGuinness and her family, but "had difficulties with Mr McGuinness".

Councillor Devenney made reference to the murder of Frank Hegarty, who was shot when the IRA lured him back to the city after assuring his mother he would be safe, and the Claudy bomb in which nine people died. He also referred to the killing of Patsy Gillespie, who was chained to his van and told to drive to an Army checkpoint with a bomb on board, a murder he said Bishop Edward Daly had described as "the work of Satan".

He said Mr McGuinness would have been "considered a hero" if he had given information to the families of victims.

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"I have always been against the rewriting of history with regards the IRA campaign and Martin McGuinness's hands being all over it," he said afterwards.

"The victims of IRA violence in this city and beyond are looking for answers. They are the real victims here.

"I have no problem sending my condolences to Mrs McGuinness but I couldn't sympathise with Mr McGuinness, as he was a member of Sinn Fein/IRA and was a terrorist."

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