herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Guerin family hurt by Sinn Fein bridge snub

veronnica guerin
veronnica guerin

THE family of murdered journalist Veronica Guerin has withdrawn its support for a proposal to name a Dublin flyover in her memory amid fears that the campaign was being turned into a "political football" by Sinn Fein.

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

The Clondalkin-based councillor sparked a major backlash this week after he claimed that naming the N7 Newlands 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 Fein 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 footpath 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But his remarks have caused upset for the Guerin family who have now requested that the proposal be withdrawn altogether.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.

Memory

"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However, the Guerin family has now requested that the proposal be "withdrawn altogether".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 family see this issue was becoming a political football following intervention the intervention of a Sinn Fein councillor."

He said he intends to direct the committee to respect the request. In a statement, Sinn Fein rejected that it had turned the issue into a 'political football.'

noconnor@herald.ie

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