National reconciliation a crucial element of the peace process – McGuinness
The North’s Joint First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, today delivered an address to the annual convention of the International Bar Association in Dublin.
During his speech Mr McGuinness said he believes dialogue can lead to the development of a process of truth and reconciliation that all parties to the conflict can support and accept.
During the course of his address Mr McGuinness said:
“I welcome the opportunity for us to have a public conversation about how we deal with our past. That conversation will be not easy and the challenges will be great. However, I believe that with dialogue and trust we can develop a process that all of us can support and accept.
“The criminal justice system is wholly inappropriate to the task of truth recovery, or reconciliation in respect of the legacy of the conflict.
“Unfortunately to date the British State has refused even to acknowledge its role as a participant in the conflict. That position is not tenable as we move forward. It is insulting to victims of events like Bloody Sunday 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.
“Sinn Féin has put forward proposals to address truth recovery and deal with the legacy of conflict. I welcome the support of Michael Mansfield for Sinn Féin’s position on independent international truth commission.”
“Any process must be victim-centred and international, independent and inclusive of all participants including the two governments.
“Republicans have made it clear that we would participate in such a body. But the British Government should accept that it was central to the conflict and make it clear that it would participate in such a process.
“The task of building national reconciliation is as much a part of the Peace Process as anything that has gone before.