By Ray O’Hanlon and Patrick Markey
Loyalist death threats against elected Sinn Féin politicians in Northern were strongly condemned by two of New York’s leading political leaders last week.
City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Comptroller Alan Hevesi also called on the police in the North to release more information to the threatened Sinn Féin members, most of whom are elected council members in Belfast and Lisburn.
Vallone and Hevesi jointly held a press conference on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan Thursday to announce details of a resolution, unanimously passed by New York City Council, which calls on the RUC to divulge "pertinent security information" to the targeted Sinn Féin members.
To date, the SF members have been told by the RUC that they are being targeted for possible assassination but beyond that little information has been given to them.
Vallone and Hevesi were joined in the press conference by Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty and Michael Ferguson, a member of Lisburn Borough Council and one of the individuals who has received death threats.
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Photos of the threatened councilors were held up on the steps of City Hall by supporters during the press conference.
Hevesi said that death threats and hit-lists had no place in a democracy.
"We are taking these threats very seriously," said Pat Doherty.
Vallone, who authored the City Council resolution, said that the people of New York condemned the enemies of peace in Northern Ireland who had threatened the lives of those working for peace.
Ferguson told reporters that there had been three plots against him in the last year. He said that every time there was a nationalist gain in elections, it was followed by death threats from loyalists.