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Council defends no book of condolence for Manchester

Cllr Ian McGarvey with Council CEO Seamus Neely at the opening of a book of condolence for Nelson Mandela. The local authority has defended not opening a book following the Manchester attack.

DONEGAL County Council has defended its decision not to open a book of condolence for the victims of the Manchester bombing.

It is almost two weeks since 22 people lost their lives and dozens more were injured when Salman Abedi launched his deadly suicide attack in the Manchester Arena.

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Many of those killed were young people who had been enjoying a concert by the American artist Ariana Grande.

In the wake of the tragic events, local authorites across Ireland, both north and south, opened books to allow members of the public to express their sympathies to the families of those killed.

Councils in Galway, Cork, Kilkenny and Dublin all opened books of condolence, as did Belfast City Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Donegal County Council stopped short of doing the same however.

Traditionally, books of condolence have been opened in the county following important events such as the passing of a world figure or a significant tragedy.

In the past members of the public were offered the opportunity to pay their respects to people like Nelson Mandela and Martin McGuinness and following events such as the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting and the 2015 Carrickmines fire tragedy in which ten people perished.

But Donegal County Council said that rather than open a book following the Manchester blast, Cathaoirleach Terence Slowey had contacted the mayor of the city to express his sympathies on behalf of the people of Donegal.

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“Donegal County Council has not opened a book of condolence however the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Terence Slowey has contacted the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Rt Hon Andy Burnham to convey his deepest sympathy to the people of Manchester on the tragedy that unfolded in their city on Monday night last,” a council spokesperson said.

“There are many strong family connections between Donegal and Manchester and the Cathaoirleach referred to this in his letter and noted that the thoughts and prayers of the people of Donegal are with all of those affected by this tragic event.

“In his message, he conveyed the closeness and solidarity that many in Donegal feel with the city of Manchester and how it has become home to many of our emigrants over the generations.

“He noted that the city of Manchester has a proud history of diversity and the warmth and depth of feeling shown by all communities within the city of Manchester over the last number of days is truly inspirational especially during these very difficult times.”

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