New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proclamation that March 17 should be renamed ‘Gerry Adams Day’ has been labelled “farcical” by the father of an IRA victim.
He bestowed the honour on the former Sinn Fein president during a St Patrick’s Day breakfast in the US on Saturday.
Colin Parry, whose 12-year-old son Tim was killed in the IRA bombing of Warrington in March 1993, branded the move “completely inappropriate”.
Speaking to the News Letter yesterday – just one day ahead of the 25th anniversary commemoration service for the Warrington victims – Mr Parry said: “I have no problem crediting people like Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness for leaving behind the armed struggle and embracing peace.
“But to go a stage further and bestow such an honour on Gerry Adams is farcical. I am not going to say it causes me offence personally, but I know it will cause considerable offence and hurt to many people.
“This demonstrates that the views of many Irish Americans are distorted when it comes to the IRA. It strikes me that many of them see republicans through rose-tinted spectacles and always have.”
At a special event ahead of the annual parade along Fifth Avenue, Mr de Blasio heaped praise on Mr Adams and said he “did not accept injustice, he did not tolerate it and he fought against it”.
He added: “He understood there was no place in this world anymore for colonialism and he fought against it ... great ideas never die. I want to honour him for pursuit of a goal that makes so much sense – a goal for a united Ireland.”
Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was murdered by the IRA in 1984, said the mayor had trampled “on the graves of IRA terrorist victims” by making the gesture.
UUP MLA Steve Aiken said Mr de Blasio’s eulogy was a “kick in the teeth for the victims of terrorism”.