Sinn Fein councillors vote against book of condolence for murdered prison officer David Black

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An Ulster Unionist councillor in Dungannon has expressed disappointment after his Sinn Fein colleagues voted against opening a book of condolence for murdered prison officer David Black, the News Letter can reveal.

However a book of condolence will be opened at the council for Mr Black on Tuesday morning after the UUP, DUP and SDLP united to support the proposal by Ulster Unionist councillor Kenny Reid.

Sinn Fein councillors and one independent Republican councillor voted against it.

Mr Reid said he had originally asked Mayor Phelim Gildernew of Sinn Fein to open the book on Friday November 1 - the day after Mr Black’s murder.

“I am glad that it has been voted through but disappointed that it took over a week, that it didn’t happen last Friday when I had originally asked,” he told the News Letter on Monday night following the council meeting.

“The reason the Mayor gave was that it would be singling out a Protestant victim to support because we didn’t open a book of condolence for police officer Ronan Kerr from Omagh when he was murdered in 2011.”

Mr Black was murdered by dissident republican terrorists as he drove along the M1 between Portadown and Lurgan on his way to work at HMP Maghaberry on Thursday November 1.

On Monday the new amalgamated group of terrorists who call themselves the IRA claimed responsibility for the murder.

The 52-year-old father-of-two from Cookstown was the first prison officer to be murdered in Northern Ireland in almost 20 years.

Cookstown and Fermanagh councils have both so far opened books of condolence for Mr Black.