Tuesday 16 October 2018

Sinn Fein to block bid to honour journalist Veronica at N7 flyover

It has been proposed that the new flyover on the N7 be named in honour of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin, inset.
It has been proposed that the new flyover on the N7 be named in honour of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin, inset.
Sinn Fein councillor Jonathan Graham
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A CAMPAIGN to name a flyover in honour of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin looks set to be defeated - after being met with strong opposition by Sinn Féin, the Irish Independent has learned.

Sinn Féin representatives on South Dublin County Council have objected to the proposal, with one party councillor warning that the move would "create a hierarchy of victims" of gangland crime.

There had been hopes that the new N7 flyover at Newlands Cross would be named after the murdered mother-of-one in time for her 20-year anniversary on June 26 next year.

The proposal to honour Ms Guerin, a Sunday Independent journalist, was tabled by Labour TD for Dublin Mid West Robert Dowds after he secured the permission of her family.

Mr Dowds and several other local politicians believe the move would be a fitting tribute to Ms Guerin, who was murdered in cold blood just yards from the flyover in West Dublin.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is also in favour of naming the flyover after Ms Guerin.

She is one of two journalists from the Independent group who were shot dead in retaliation for exposing the activities of gangland criminals. The other was Martin O'Hagan from Co Armagh.

But it's emerged that the proposal by the Labour Party politician is being strongly opposed by Sinn Féin, the largest political grouping on South Dublin County Council.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Graham said naming the crossover in honour of Ms Guerin would be "inappropriate".

"This has got nothing to do with Veronica as a person or a journalist," Mr Graham, who is one of the country's youngest councillors, said last night.

"But we should not be creating a hierarchy of victims. There are a number of other 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 footpath after that," he added.

Mr Graham said that there is "no precedent" for a flyover to be named in memory of a gangland victim and that he and his Sinn Féin colleagues are opposed to the Labour proposal.

A spokeswoman for South Dublin County Council said that the issue of naming the flyover after Ms Guerin would be discussed at the council's Land Use Planning and Transportation Committee next week. The matter is also due to go out for public consultation.

But given that Sinn Féin is the largest voting bloc on the council, its opposition is likely to cause the proposal to fall.

Ms Guerin's name resurfaced in the media in recent weeks after Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams openly joked about placing a gun to the head of the editor of the Irish Independent during an after-dinner speech in New York.

The remarks by the Louth TD sparked outrage both at home and abroad and led to accusations that he was making a veiled threat to press freedom.

Mr Adams's attack on the Irish Independent was subsequently defended by his deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section