SF object to freedom of Drogheda for Seamus Mallon

Seamus Mallon, former deputy leader of the SDLP, on the 20th  anniversary of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. He spoke movingly about the destruction caused by violence on all sides, including the IRA murder of farmers, and was dismissive of the notion that such victims were part of the British 'war machine'.''Picture: Pacemaker
Seamus Mallon, former deputy leader of the SDLP, on the 20th anniversary of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. He spoke movingly about the destruction caused by violence on all sides, including the IRA murder of farmers, and was dismissive of the notion that such victims were part of the British 'war machine'.''Picture: Pacemaker

Sinn Fein has attempted to block Seamus Mallon from being awarded the freedom of Drogheda - on the basis that Gerry Adams would be more deserving.

The party’s councillors unsuccessfully opposed a proposal, backed by all other local councillors, to award Mr Mallon, aged 81, the status of freeman of Drogheda. The decision was taken at a meeting of Drogheda Borough District Council earlier this week, the Irish Times reported.

“We have a TD for Louth,” said Sinn Fein councillor Kenneth Flood, who said Mr Adams would be “a better candidate than Seamus Mallon”.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: “Sinn Fein councillors in Louth voted against the freedom of Drogheda for Seamus Mallon as they felt it was wrong to elevate one person who was involved in the peace process above all the others who were also important to ensuring a lasting peace in Ireland.”

But Drogehda-based Labour Senator Ged Nash claimed Sinn Fein’s “effort to rewrite history and airbrush the SDLP out of the narrative continues”.

He added: “This approach is designed to shoehorn themselves and the Provisional IRA into the civil rights narrative and to completely airbrush the SDLP and the honourable tradition of constitutional nationalism out of our recent political history.”

He said Mr Mallon is the 34th recipient, but this is first time councillors have split on a nomination.