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McGuinness challenges Patterson over Dublin speech

20 July, 2012

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has described last night’s remarks in Dublin by the British Secretary of State Owen Patterson as’ a clumsy and ill-thought out speech’. Mr McGuinness said that Sinn Féin would resist any attempts by the British Secretary of state to undermine the power sharing and equality provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr McGuinness said:

“It was ironic that Owen Patterson chose to make a speech criticising the Executive on failing to deliver on issues like CSI on the day after a significant statement from Peter Robinson and myself outlining agreement across a whole range of issues including the ones identified by him. Either Mr Patterson is so detached from politics here that he missed this statement or he chose simply to ignore it for his own political reasons.

“And those reasons were fairly clear from his Dublin speech. He is in the sort of clumsy and ill-thought out fashion which has marked his time as British Secretary of State seeking to use the bogus notion of a failure of the Executive to deliver on issues as a cover to try and start a debate on undermining the power sharing and equality provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.

“This from a British Secretary of State who through decisions to revoke the licence of Marian Price and the continued imprisonment of Martin Corey is undermining confidence within the community.

“The checks and balances contained within the Good Friday Agreement are not up for negotiation. There will not be a return to majority rule in the north. And let me be very clear to Mr Patterson, Sinn Féin will resist absolutely any agenda being pushed by him to re-write the Good Friday Agreement.” 

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