Unionist attack on Martin McGuinness’ legacy

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A Derry Unionist Councillor has claimed Martin McGuinness was a terrorist who failed to account for IRA killings following tributes to the late Deputy First Minister.

Independent Unionist Maurice Devenney made his comments after fellow Councillors expressed condolences to various local families who have lost their lives over the past month.

At the Full Council’s monthly meeting in the Guildhall on Thursday, Mayor Hilary McClintock made reference to the passing of Mr McGuinness, among others.

Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Fleming said: “In relation to ourselves and in terms of Sinn Fein and the wider Republican family across the island, we mourn the loss of one of our finest, Martin McGuinness.”

Colr. Fleming described Mr McGuinness as “an inspiration”, “role model” and “friend” whose leadership “will inspire us to build a better future”. He said that people from all traditions had recognised “the person Martin McGuinness was and his unending and passionate belief in the Peace Process.”

SDLP Colr. John Boyle said Mr McGuinness’ death had had “a significant effect right across the city, district, region and indeed Ireland and beyond”. “Again on behalf of the SDLP we send our condolences to his family,” he said.

Colr. Devenney however said he had to question the tributes to Martin McGuinness. Stating that he had no issue with passing on sympathies to Mr McGuinness family, he said: “I remember him as a terrorist, a man of Sinn Fein/ IRA”, adding that “him and his organisation caused much pain across this city and Northern Ireland.

Colr. Devenney said Mr McGuinness had failed to provide answers for the families of victims of the Troubles and mentioned the case of the Claudy bomb and the murders of Frank Hegarty and Patsy Gillespie, “who was known as the human bomb and tied to a vehicle and sent to Coshquin where a number of soldiers were killed along with himself”. “Even Bishop Daly stated this was the work of Satan,” Colr. Devenney said, adding: “We are almost rewriting history here.”

DUP Colr. Drew Thompson said there people in the city who had lost loved ones while Martin McGuinness was high up in the IRA, while UUP Colr. Derek Hussey said he was mindful of those who had lost people in the past.