Saturday 23 September 2017

Veronica's family withdraw support for flyover tribute

It had been proposed that the new flyover on the N7 be named in honour of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin, inset.
It had been proposed that the new flyover on the N7 be named in honour of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin, inset.
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

THE family of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin have withdrawn their support for a proposal to name a Dublin flyover in her memory amid fears that the campaign was being turned into a "political football" by Sinn Féin.

In a letter to South Dublin County Council, the Guerin family expressed their upset over what they described as "disrespectful" comments by Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Graham.

The Clondalkin-based councillor sparked a major backlash this week after he claimed naming the N7 Newland's Cross flyover after Ms Guerin would create a "hierarchy of victims". The proposal was tabled by Labour TD Robert Dowds.

Mr Graham insisted that he and other Sinn Féin representatives believed honouring Ms Guerin in this manner would be "inappropriate".

"There are a number of families who have been affected by criminality in this area. If you take the criminal John Gilligan - many people have been affected by his actions. However, we can't name every street and footpaths after that," he said.

But his remarks have caused upset for the Guerin family who have now requested that the proposal be withdrawn altogether.

In a letter to council CEO Daniel McLoughlin, Ms Guerin's brother Jimmy said he feared her memory was being disrespected.

"We are very grateful that Labour TD Mr Robert Dowds and his colleagues would consider such a proposal. However we feel that it is inappropriate that the memory of my late sister would be dragged into what is becoming a political football," Mr Guerin said.

"We fully respect the right of certain individuals to object to Veronica's memory being honoured in this way. I am of the view that some of the comments by members of the Council are in fact disrespectful to her memory. It may well be that this was not the intention," he added.

The issue of naming the flyover - located just yards from where the Sunday Independent reporter was murdered - was due to be discussed by the Council's Land Use Planning and Transportation Committee next week.

However, the Guerin family have now requested that the proposal be "withdrawn altogether".

Committee chairman and Fine Gael councillor William Lavelle said the family's wishes will be respected.

"I absolutely respect the wishes of family in this regard. It's most unfortunate that the family see this issue was becoming a political football following the intervention of a Sinn Féin councillor. On this basis, I will recommend that the committee do not proceed with any proposals to name the bridge. On a personal note, I hope we can all do whatever we can to keep the memory of Veronica Guerin alive."

In a statement, Sinn Féin rejected that it had turned the issue into a 'political football.'

The party did not respond to accusations of hypocrisy after it emerged Sinn Féin representatives in the North this week resisted efforts to change the name of Raymond McCreesh children's play park in Newry. McCreesh was a renowned IRA figure who died while on hunger strike in the Maze Prison in the early eighties.

Irish Independent

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