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Peace process must be defended from Cameron’s partisan approach – McGuinness

11 May, 2014 - by Martin McGuinness


Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has called on the Irish government to defend the peace process as the British government takes an increasingly partisan approach to key issues in the North.

 And the Deputy First Minister said the two governments have abdicated their leadership role as guarantors of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and a number of other issues.

Martin McGuinness said:   

 “For some time now Sinn Féin has been concerned that the British and Irish governments are not properly engaged in the management of the peace process. Despite the efforts of Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan, the toxic issues of parades and symbols remain unresolved and there is no agreed approach to dealing with our troubled past. The two governments have abdicated their leadership role on these and a number of other issues.

We have also expressed our deep concern at the increasingly partisan and pro-unionist approach of the British Prime Minister and his Secretary of State. The failure to address issues like the Pat Finucane enquiry, the Bill of Rights and an Irish language act are indications of a less than even-handed approach.

 But recent comments by the British secretary of state warning of an undue focus on killings by British state forces, her rejection of a review of the killings of 11 civilians by the British Army in Ballymurphy in 1971 and her lack of enthusiasm for the Haass proposals point to a British government increasingly aligning itself with rejectionist unionism.

 Despite recent requests David Cameron has not met the Sinn Féin leadership to discuss our concerns around the failure to implement key commitments. The admission by David Cameron that he has been meeting privately with the DUP calls into question the British government’s joint stewardship of the peace process.

 The British Conservative party has not grasped the fundamental principles of the peace process. They seem unable to think beyond their traditional disposition to unionism. David Cameron is clearly wooing the DUP and extreme unionism. There is a growing Conservative/Unionist symmetry, not just on issues relating to the peace process but also on the savage welfare cuts which the DUP and the Tories are trying to impose on the most vulnerable in the north of Ireland.

 The increasingly pro-unionist and partisan position of the British government demands a more assertive and decisive response from the Irish government. It demands a strategic, political and diplomatic defence of the peace process and of the right of all our people to equality and justice.” ENDS/CRÍOCH

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Mary Lou McDonald and Cathal King