27/04/2012

Deputy First Minister Prepared To Give Evidence To Smithwick Tribunal

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinnesssays that he is prepared to give evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal.

He said that “honesty is key to building a shared future and reconciling our people”.

Mr McGuinness said: “Reconciliation is essential between our communities, Republicans and Unionists, and also between my community and the British state. It will not be easy but must happen.

“Republicans realise that dealing with the past will not be an easy process for us – Republicans inflicted much hurt during the conflict, and hurt was inflicted upon Republicans - but if we are to build a new future it is necessary and it is a road that I am not afraid to go down.

“And in my experience of recent years many within the unionist community are up for that journey of reconciliation and dialogue.”

SDLP Leader and South Belfast MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell welcomed his decision to give edidence.

He said: "If we want to build a shared and better society then honesty about the past must prevail. It is only through this that we will be able to achieve reconciliation, equality and properly tackle sectarianism within our communities.

"As we approach 15 years from the Good Friday Agreement in 2013, we need honest and mature reflection on where we are. There is now a queue of outstanding commitments overdue that have still not been delivered upon.

"Political leaders need to be open and honest about what they have done and the work remaining to be done."

(CD)

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