29/06/2012

Britain 'Hampering' Attempts For Peace - McGuinness

Britain is hampering reconciliation in Ireland by refusing to acknowledge its role in the conflict here, Martin McGuinness said in London last night.

Fresh from his much-feted handshake with Queen Elizabeth II, the Deputy First Minister addressed an audience at Portcullis House in Westminster’s Houses of Parliament.

He said the handshake was a vital step for reconciliation with unionists who had a "deep affinity' to her, but the British government was blocking attempts to move on through a refusal to deal with the past.

Mr McGuinness, of Sinn Fein, said the current government had made "a series of very wrong and unhelpful decisions" and Prime Minister David Cameron had not involved himself in peacemaking.

He said: "Unfortunately, to date, the British State has refused to even acknowledge its role as a combatant in the conflict. That position is no longer tenable as we move forward. It is insulting to victims of events like Bloody Sunday in my own city when 14 people were killed and it is insulting to people’s intelligence. It is also excluding the British state from assisting a genuine process of national reconciliation in Ireland. A process which, though embryonic, is nevertheless under way. There are issues that have not been brought to a conclusion, specifically the issue of the legacy of the conflict. The British Government has a big role to play in that."

The former IRA commander said he and First Minister Peter Robinson had met Barack Obama more times than they had met David Cameron.

(NE)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

12 January 2018
Irish Foreign Minister To Meet Secretary Of State Next Week
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney is to meet with the new Secretary of State next week to discuss power-sharing in Northern Ireland, Simon Coveney, who flew into London from the Middle East, met with Karen Bradley on Friday, 12 January, and said talks had been "very good".
19 October 2017
Former US President To Meet With Prime Minister
Former US President Bill Clinton is to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the current political crisis in Northern Ireland. Mr Clinton has already met with political leaders in Belfast, and he will hold talks with Mrs May in London today, 19 October.
04 February 2019
PM To Visit NI In Hope Of Winning Brexit Support
Prime Minister Theresa May is set to visit Northern Ireland tomorrow, 05 February, in a bid to win support for her revised Brexit strategy. According to a Downing Street spokesperson, Mrs May will address business leaders in a speech centred upon the crucial Irish border issue.
28 January 2019
Brexit: PM Urged To Secure Changes To NI Backstop
Prime Minister Theresa May is being urged to secure changes from the EU to the Northern Ireland backstop as part of her Brexit deal. Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said winning a "freedom clause" would be "unadulterated good Brexit news".
07 February 2019
NI Parties Left Reeling After PM Visit
Political representatives in Northern Ireland have been left divided once again and calling for further Brexit assurances following a visit from Prime Minister Theresa May this week.