A senior Sinn Fein member has refused to discuss why party councillors in Fermanagh and Omagh did not join in tributes to Captain Sir Tom Moore.
ll the main parties expressed condolences to Sir Tom during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The 100-year-old, who raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, died with coronavirus in Bedford Hospital earlier in the day.
His family said the last year of his life was “nothing short of remarkable”, and that he had “experienced things he’d only ever dreamed of”.
Last night Sir Tom’s memory was marked with a national clap.
In Belfast, the Lord Mayor opened an online book of condolence. Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: “Captain Sir Tom captured the heart of the nation and was an inspiration to us all.”
Health Minister Robin Swann also paid tribute to Sir Tom.
He took a moment during his weekly media update at Stormont on the coronavirus pandemic to remember the military veteran and his family.
“He became the epitome of all that is good and noble about how we have come together in a common cause of defeating Covid and supporting our health service and our health workers,” he said.
However, a row broke out after Sinn Fein did not pay tribute during a meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh council.
The Belfast Telegraph contacted Barry McElduff, the party’s group leader on the council, but he refused to comment.
It drew criticism from DUP councillor Errol Thompson, who said: “Captain Tom was someone who fundraised for our country as a whole and a lot of that funding came towards our own Trusts here. The Western Trust received £112,000 from his efforts and the Southern Trust received £109,000. What a treasure he was.
“It is disappointing and I know other people who would call themselves nationalists or republicans actually did pay tribute.”
He added: “They [SF] probably had their own reasons for doing it.”
During the meeting, Ulster Unionist councillor Victor Warrington said: “The man was a great inspiration at the start of this pandemic, with his efforts of doing the walk to raise millions for the NHS. He had a great life of 100 years and would have had some great stories to tell. On behalf of my party, I want to express our sincere sympathies.”
This was followed by a tribute from Mr Thompson of the DUP.
Independent councillor Emmet McAleer said: “The money that Captain Sir Tom raised during his activities was absolutely inspiring.”
Independent councillor Josephine Deehan told members she was “greatly saddened”.
Another independent, Donal O’Cofaigh, referred to Sir Tom’s “inspirational efforts”.
SDLP councillor Paul Blake said he was “a real inspiration”, adding: “We owe a great debt of gratitude.”
Yesterday, hours before a national clap in his memory took place, the House of Commons fell silent in tribute to Sir Tom.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs the centenarian had dedicated his life to serving the needs of so many others.
He said: “We all now have the opportunity to show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in.
“That is why I encourage everyone to join in a national clap for Captain Tom and all those health workers for whom he raised money at 6pm this evening.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Captain Tom’s contribution – having raised more than £32m for the NHS during the first coronavirus lockdown – will be formally marked, possibly with a statue.