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McGuinness - Irish Peace Process in crisis

15 February, 2005

Speaking today at a Press Conference in London before travelling on to Oxford where he will address a seminar along with the DUP Deputy Leader Peter Robinson, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP said:

"I am in London today to address the issue of conflict resolution at a seminar at St Anthony's College, Oxford. This evening's discussion, involving the DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson, is both timely and significant. It underlines the need for inclusivity and for dialogue. There is no doubt that the Irish peace process is in deep, deep crisis. This does not stem from the robbery at the Northern Bank in Belfast before Christmas, though that robbery has deepened the problems. The crisis began when the DUP leader Ian Paisley rejected the unprecedented offer form the IRA to deal conclusively with the issue of IRA activities and IRA arms.

But we are in a crisis and that need to be dealt with. It is not being dealt with. All that remains of the peace process is the IRA cessation. There is no political process. No effort at meaningful dialogue. No serious attempt to resolve the current difficulties.

If we are to address the crisis we need to repair and restore the process of problem solving, the conflict resolution process.

Sinn Féin is committed to this, to defending the peace process and to preventing any return to conflict and violence. Sinn Fein is prepares to immediately enter into meaningful dialogue and discussion and to face up to our responsibilities in all of this. I firmly believe that if we are collectively committed to this approach that the outstanding issues can, indeed they must be resolved.

At this fraught and testing time we also need to be mindful of the enormous progress we have collectively made over the last 10 years. The political situation has been transformed, not just in Belfast, Derry and other parts of the north of Ireland, but right across the island of Ireland and here also in Britain.

And how have we achieved all of this. Through dialogue, through discussion, through negotiations and ultimately through accommodation.

And how can we make further progress and resolve outstanding issues. Through the same process of dialogue and engagement, through an inclusive political process.

The mandate and democratic integrity of every party must not only be recognised, it must be upheld and defended. That is at the core of peace building and conflict resolution. There is no viable alterative to the peace process. There is no viable alternative to politics.

Referring to the killing of Robert McCartney Martin McGuinness said,
" No matter who was responsible or whatever their politics, the killing of Robert McCartney was wrong. It should not have happened and there must be no cover-up. The McCartney family deserve the truth and they deserve justice. I fully and unequivocally support them in this.

I want to encourage any person with any information whatsoever in relation to this deplorable killing not to hold this information back but to pass it on immediately. Many people in the communities affected do have reservations about the PSNI but if that is the case then the information should be passed to the family or to any respected person or organisation." ENDS

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