Martin McGuinness signs off from Westminster with a speech, finishing off a week of “handshake fatigue”

We are emerging from a conflict that resulted in lives being lost and families being devastated. I genuinely regret every single life that was lost during that conflict and today I want every family who lost a loved one to know that your pain is not being ignored and I am willing to work with others to finding a way to deal with our past so that we can complete our journey to true reconciliation.

A quote from Martin McGuinness’ speech at a Sinn Féin event last night in the Palace of Westminster.

Deirdre Heenan used the phrase “handshake fatigue” on Inside Politics last weekend. It must sum up the feeling amongst Sinn Féin activists who have endured an internal consultation process that sounds on a par with what they went through before decommissioning. An Phoblacht sums it up:

Sinn Féin activists the length and breadth of Ireland attended up to 40 meetings in the immediate run-up to the Ard Chomhairle meeting. In advance of the decision, Sinn Féin also met families of many of the republican patriot dead and those who have been victims of British state violence. This engagement process continues.

Those who didn’t drink the Kool-Aid are acknowledged in the AP editorial:

Some people have spoken out against the decision and will protest. That is their right and Sinn Féin fully respects that.

An Phoblacht front page for July editionThe headline on the front page of the latest edition of An Phoblacht emphasises “Leadership and Vision”.

Martin McGuinness is deputy First Minister for all the people in the North, unionists as well as nationalists and republicans. This is a commitment he takes very seriously.

So he’ll be waving a flag at the next Apprentice Boys march in London Derry, or loitering near the gift shop when Orangefest hits the grounds of Belfast City Hall on the Twelfth? [Ed – he takes it “seriously”, not “flippantly”!]

The editorial finishes with a message for unionists:

Sinn Féin acknowledges the attachment that many unionists feel towards the Queen of England. We see this engagement very much in the context of nation building, of overcoming the historic fracture between ‘Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter’. We want to see the coming together of Orange and Green in harmony.

The type of Ireland Irish republicans seek to create is pluralist and where a citizen can be Irish and unionist.

But the real significance and value of this engagement will only be realised if it is built upon. Hopefully, it can contribute towards creating space for those progressive elements within unionism to come forward.

Aside from the question of whether the British Government will ever acknowledge its “combative role” in the conflict …

Will the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland drop their reluctance to meet Sinn Féin? (It’s a bit of a farce anyway since they dropped the ban on individual lodges and districts meeting community groups which often contain Sinn Féin activists or councillors.)

But away from the loyal orders, will unionist politicians at council level all now listen respectfully to the opinions voiced by Sinn Féin colleagues without tutting or booing? Will the petty squabbling over paying respect to fellow councillor’s dead relatives and accepting chains of office be a thing of the past?

Will the annual competition to erect the largest Union Flag closest to a chapel be declared null and void?

On the other hand, will the GAA continue to distance themselves from politics and ground names that can glorify terrorists rather than encouraging a wider attendance at sporting matches?

Will republican commemorations be a little less about hero worship and be perceived as more about remembering loss and wishing things hadn’t turned out the way they did?

The full text of Martin McGuinness’ speech is reproduced below.

There have been many momentous and indeed historical moments which have marked my 40 years in struggle. Some have been highly political, others have been highly significant and some have been highly symbolic. Yesterday’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth in Belfast embraced all of these things.

It was a meeting which, although short in length, can, I believe, have much longer effects on defining a new relationship between Britain and Ireland and between the Irish people themselves.

It was not a meeting which came about as a result of a few weeks’ or a few months’ work. It came about as the result of decades of work constructing the Irish Peace Process, involving very many people in very many roles.

And I wish to pay tribute to all of those – from Presidents to Taoisigh to Prime Ministers, from politicians to church and community leaders and ordinary people up and down Ireland – who placed building a new future ahead of fighting old battles.

Britain’s involvement in Irish affairs has been marked by colonialism, plantation, division and partition. It has been bad for Ireland and her people and bad for Britain and her people. We have been left to deal with that legacy. It is a legacy which has contaminated normal politics and normal relations between our islands for generations.

It gave rise to the conditions which fostered inequality, division and conflict. Second-class citizenship for nationalists in the North was underwritten by successive British governments.

For 40 years my life has been about changing all of that.

Massive progress has been made. We have transformed society in the North. But that transformation has come at a heavy price on all sides. Over 3,000 people lost their lives in the course of the conflict. Many more suffered injury and loss. Every single violent act was evidence of a failure of politics and a failure of British policy in Ireland.

We are emerging from a conflict that resulted in lives being lost and families being devastated. I genuinely regret every single life that was lost during that conflict and today I want every family who lost a loved one to know that your pain is not being ignored and I am willing to work with others to finding a way to deal with our past so that we can complete our journey to true reconciliation.

I hear some commentators talk about the Good Friday Agreement being reached back in 1998 and following a successful completion of an Assembly mandate that the Peace Process has come to a conclusion. I do not share this view, it is wrong and it is a mistake. The task of building national reconciliation is as much a part of the Peace Process as anything that has gone before.

I am up for the challenge and 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.

Already we as a party have made a number of significant and important moves in recent months to develop such a process. Under the direction of our party chairperson, Declan Kearney, we have been involved in a series of outreach meetings with unionists. This has been a highly productive dialogue and I commend the two recent resolutions passed by the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches encouraging this work.

But national reconciliation will not be built on a shaky foundation of people questioning the legitimacy of positions adopted over the course of the conflict or by attempts to demean or denigrate those who were involved in it.

National reconciliation will be built on the firm foundation of mutual respect and decisive actions. That is the context within which I met Queen Elizabeth this week.

I was – in a very pointed, deliberate and symbolic way – offering the hand of friendship to unionists through the person of Queen Elizabeth for which many unionists have a deep affinity. It is an offer I hope many will accept in the same spirit it was offered.

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, where 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 underway.

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.

Many people in the North who are big supporters of the Peace Process are hurt. Just last week, relatives of those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre were told by British Secretary of State Owen Paterson that they would not have the type of inquiry that they were looking for, the kind of investigation that they wanted, into the deaths of their loved ones killed by the British Army. Likewise, the British commitment at Weston Park for an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane has not been implemented. The government in London needs to stop obstructing these matters.

Indeed, in recent times this British government has made a series of stupid and unhelpful decisions, including the revocation of the licence of Marian Price and the continuing imprisonment of Martin Corey on the same basis. People may be shocked to discover that Peter Robinson and myself have met American President Barack Obama more times that we have met David Cameron in our role as First and deputy First Ministers. This lack of engagement by David Cameron is a serious mistake and may provide a rationale for some of the damaging decisions made by Owen Paterson during his tenure at the NIO.

I am absolutely committed to the achievement of a New Republic in Ireland. I believe that the Good Friday Agreement offers us a clear, democratic roadmap to get there. Under that agreement the Government of Ireland Act was repealed and the British Government has committed to legislating for Irish unity in the event of a 50-plus-one result in a Border poll.

I also realise that the Ireland of 1922 is not the Ireland of 2012. But that does not mean that the current British Government does not have an obligation to deal with the legacy of previous governments’ failures with regard to Ireland. If you continue to ignore an inherited problem you become part of the problem itself.

I would argue that the British people and their elected representatives need to need to become persuaders for constitutional change in the future.

Because that is the real future for Ireland — a united country at peace with itself and at peace with Britain; a society based on respect and equality.

And leading a debate on the future of the Union in England will become a central part of the work being undertaken in the future by Sinn Féin MPs elected to Westminster.

As you know, Sinn Féin as a party has taken a decision to end the practice of double jobbing. In practice, that will mean me resigning my seat at Westminster. I have been deeply honoured to serve the people of Mid-Ulster since 1997. It is a mandate which I have used to advance the Peace Process and cement a better future for all citizens. I will continue to represent the people of Mid-Ulster in the Assembly.

My other four colleagues – Michelle, Conor, Paul and Pat – will remain as active abstentionist MPs. Indeed, our MPs team will be bolstered by the end of the dual mandates and will assume additional responsibilities in the time ahead.

In addition to the normal constituency business this will include driving forward a positive, proactive united Ireland campaign in Britain. Our MPs will be more visible and more prominent than ever before, in Ireland, Britain and internationally.

And as we roll out our united Ireland agenda, my actions this week give unionists – and indeed others – a glimpse of how we as republican leaders would behave in such a united Ireland.

I respect unionists and I respect their identity. All I ask in return is respect for my Irishness and my Irish republican identity.

It is an entirely legitimate position to argue for Irish freedom and independence. Sinn Féin are absolutely committed to pursuing this objective through peaceful and democratic means. It is also an entirely legitimate position for people in England to actively support this position.

The problems between Ireland and Britain have not yet been resolved. But we now operate in a new context of compromise, agreement and peace. Dialogue has replaced conflict. Respect has replaced mistrust. What I want to see develop now and in the time ahead is a relationship based on equality and respect between our two islands for the first time in our history.

For that to happen we will need new thinking. We will need new ideas. We will need new political realities to dawn. That will not happen if the British Government continues to cling to old certainties born from a different era and a different time.

The partition of Ireland is an outdated relic of the past – a symbol of political failure. Is supporting partition really what a modern, forward-looking British Government should be doing in the year 2012? I don’t think so.

I have said before that the 1916 Easter Rising marked the beginning of the end of the British Empire and that the Good Friday Agreement marks the beginning of the end of the Union as we know it.

Now is a time for new, fresh approach to Irish-British relations. That is a challenge for everyone. It is a challenge for every one of you in this room.

It is also a challenge for the Irish Government. For too long, successive Irish governments have paid lip service to partition. They have tolerated the division of our country and our people which has resulted in Ireland as a nation not reaching our full potential. In future, ending partition and national reunification need to become Irish Government policy, not merely an aspirational goal.

Everything we do as political leaders must at all times be about underpinning the Peace Process. And that includes our approach to the summer months and the marching season. And even at this stage I would encourage the loyal orders to bear this in mind when they file for parades through areas they know they are not welcome.

I welcome the upcoming visit of the Orange Order to the Oireachtas but they need to end their position of refusing dialogue with Sinn Féin or nationalist residents. I would ask them to look at the events of the past week and seriously debate how they are going to step forward and make their contribution to a lasting peace in the coming weeks.

We have a complex and very difficult historical relationship between our two islands. The trick is to learn from it rather than be constrained by it. I am up for the big challenge of redefining that relationship in the wake of this week’s historic events. But in the same way as you cannot make peace on your own, you cannot build reconciliation without participation.

Over the next decade we will commemorate the centenaries of many of the seminal moments that have defined modern Anglo-Irish relations. It would be very easy for each of us to select our own versions of that history and celebrate and commemorate that with little regard to other events and other versions and indeed the legacy of that entire period.

We cannot make that mistake. These events will offer a unique opportunity to not just remember but to learn; not just to commemorate but to understand.

Our children, be they in Ireland or in Britain, deserve a better future than we have had a past, a future marked by respect and equality in place of conflict and suspicion.

I believe that we can get there. I believe that the future demands it.

It is my intention that this week’s event becomes a key building block in that new relationship and that new beginning.

, ,

  • sdelaneys

    I would love to know what he means by ‘true reconciliation’ and ‘national reconciliation in Ireland,’.

    When he says “The problems between Ireland and Britain have not yet been resolved. ” I try to work out what he means and how that works alongside true reconciliation and national reconciliation in Ireland. As a republican I want an Ireland in which the British government has no role to play apart from that of a friendly neighbour but am no wiser today than I was yesterday as to what Martin actually wants. Can ‘national reconciliation’ be accommodated under partition from a republican perspective? Is it wrong to ask where discrimination as practised by Connor Murphy fits in with national or true reconciliation?

  • Blissett

    “Will the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland drop their reluctance to meet Sinn Féin? (It’s a bit of a farce anyway since they dropped the ban on individual lodges and districts meeting community groups which often contain Sinn Féin activists or councillors.)”

    Drew Nelson to speak in the Seanad this week. Will be interesting to see how he reacts to SFs speaker, who will have the opportunity to make a contribution, ask a question

  • As I suggested in an earlier thread, this was a slightly surreal performance by Martin. There’s no recognition of the Unionist aspiration or of the letter and spirit of the 1998 Agreement and there’s the same old ‘Queen of England’ rhetoric, rhetoric reminiscent of a bygone age. Presumably his remarks weren’t addressed to a Unionist audience.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Simply more of ‘it’s all the Brits fault’, albeit couched in slightly less aggressive terms. More ‘respect’ for unionists alongside ‘you’re not welcome’ in supposedly republican areas: so ask us pretty-please before we tell you to feck off.

    More talk about ‘equality’ alongside bigging-up Con Murphy as a champion for the ‘peace process’ and the ‘Ireland of Equals’. More talk about a ‘conversation’ in a silent space.

    Most disgustingly his weasel words references to “lives lost”: lives were not “lost” during the terrorist campaign. The majority were taken by the murder gang McGuinness fronted.

    Of course whilst selective mentions of deaths attributed to loyalist terrorists or the police or army no mention of his own killer gang’s culpability.

  • “Sinn Féin acknowledges the attachment that many unionists feel towards the Queen of England.”

    There’s the rub. Unionists respect the Queen, not ‘the Queen of England’: which is a language that comes across as small-minded and mean-spirited; poke the prod sort of language; give, but make sure you take too. The visit to Ireland last year was acknowledgement by Ireland of her as ‘Head of State’ of GB & NI. There has been national reconciliation between the islands, and across the islands. Mutual respect has broken out. Except in SF heads.

    Playing catchup is not leadership, nor is it visionary.

  • “For that to happen we will need new thinking. We will need new ideas.”

    I doubt if we will get any from Martin or his associates; his context is from the Shakespearean era so there’s an awful lot of catching up to do.

  • Mike the First

    “The editorial finishes with a message for unionists:

    ‘Sinn Féin acknowledges the attachment that many unionists feel towards the Queen of England.’ ”

    Ironically, the use of “Queen on England” indicates that actually, they don’t.

  • Dec

    Presumably, he should have referred to her by her official title (within the UK) in order to avoid upsetting some obscure unioist constituency:

    Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

  • Dec, perhaps he should have kept to Queen Elizabeth, which he used several times, rather than show his true colours; the ‘Queen of England’ bit would only miff Unionists, not appeal to them.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I could only read snippets, it is sickening to have the chief of the IRA killing machine single out the selected few deaths, terrible and wrong as they were, while still ingnoring the vast majority thats his organisation perpetrated, so much for reconciliation. Up to the point of actually reading those quotes I was prepared to say the Orange Order should move on and talk to SF, after that I would oppose it. Yes he has made progress, and using Westminster gives another hint. But his bloody past remains, and it is he who keeps bringing it up.

    As for the petty dig, to call HM “The British Queen” would not hurt their principles, wheras the Queen of England jibe is simply meant as and taken as an insult to Unionists.

  • “the Queen of England jibe is simply meant as and taken as an insult to Unionists”

    Not necessarily meant, DR; more likely to be an old term deeply embedded in the Irish republican psyche. You’d have thought he would have listened to enough Unionists by now to get the lie of the land – but apparently not.

  • Mark

    ” But his bloody past remains , and it is he who keeps bringing it up ”

    That’s not really the case though is it . Unionists keep bringing up the past and seem stuck there . And what makes DR and his OO more special / important / significant than his Queen ? If DR’s Queen is prepared to offer a hand of reconcilliation , why can’t his OO ? .

  • PaulT

    So, the deal is unionist politicans can call the Pope the anti-christ, priests Mr, and translate Irish names into English, but by golly not giving the queen of England her full and proper title is just not on.

    Yes indeed, Sinn Fein/IRA and Machinegun Marty are well out of order.

    Would any of you lot in the glass house like another bucket of stones to throw

  • pauluk

    Marty: I respect unionists and I respect their identity. All I ask in return is respect for my Irishness and my Irish republican identity.

    Now that Marty and his colleagues are no longer trying to forcefully shove their Irishness down our throats, most unionists, I suspect, will have no problem respecting his Irishness.

  • Alias

    The “Queen of England” jibe is not aimed unionists: it’s aimed at the Shinner sheep. It has the purpose of leading them to think that the Queen won’t be the head of state of a united Ireland within a reconfigured relationship between “these islands” and that unionists can still be meaningfully unionist without a union. That, however, is not how Whitehall sees Ireland’s political future.

  • My goodness – the only thing of note in McGuinness’ speech turns out to be how he refers to the Queen.

    Any other aspects people want to pick up on?

  • Alias

    “Any other aspects people want to pick up on?”

    It’s a bit long?

  • PaulT

    Alan, it’s only the first Sinn Fein related blog of the day, I’m sure the other 19 Sinn Fein blogs will deal with the rest. Anyway it’s more fun to wait for the Alex Kane foaming at the mouth response before getting stuck in

  • Old Mortality

    Listening to McGuinness’s interview on the Today programme this morning, I’m pretty sure that he referred to ‘the Queen’ before hastily correcting himself and saying ‘Queen Elizabeth’. A slip of the tongue, of course, but a revealing one perhaps.

  • sonofstrongbow


    Other aspects of the speech have been touched on. However in a world of sound bites a term such as “Queen of England” does shout for attention. Indeed given the week that’s ending such references would be highlighted ( you reference ‘the’ handshake in the thread title) to see if the speech marked a departure from past thinking.

    We are lead to believe that in Sinn Fein’s ‘grand strategy’ every syllable is nuanced for effect. Now perhaps they just miss Jonathan Powell’s penmanship but to allow an insult, whether unthinking or meant, to pass the Connolly House censor does tell a lot of where Sinn Fein are really at. Despite Marty’s insistence that looks a lot closer to 1922 than 2012.

  • Mister_Joe

    Any other aspects people want to pick up on?

    Alas poor Alan, it’s not to be.

  • BIGK

    Can some of you biggots see no further than your computer screen. The English Queen came over here last year groveling for forgiveness for centuries of abuse in my country. The Irish accepted her apology with grace. Now she decided to come to the Northern part of my country and do the same thing shaking hands with Martin and no doubt begging him in your name for forgiveness for the hurt and pain her loyal subjects inflicted on the nationalist community. You guys seem to be living in a bubble but cant see outside. There are a lot more than you butcher’s apron waving folks about.

  • salgado

    “So, the deal is unionist politicans can call the Pope the anti-christ, priests Mr, and translate Irish names into English, but by golly not giving the queen of England her full and proper title is just not on.”

    They probably wouldn’t call the Pope the anti-Christ in the middle of (apparently) reaching out towards catholics tbf. It’s not really the same situation.

    I wouldn’t really defend any of those, in any case.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Alan, you may notice I picked up on the usual rank hipocracy with regards victims? Only Bloody Sunday, Ballymurphy & Pat Finucane seem to matter.

  • salgado

    BIGK – what an odd comment.

    Any remarks on McGuinness’ speech?

  • BIGK

    Any remarks on McGuinness’ speech?

    Good speech. Lots of home truths which seem to offend some. McGuinness and sinn fein have never had any bother taking the moral high ground as the truth speaks for itself. Hope you dont think this odd as well.

  • Mister_Joe


    Is it immoral to lie?

  • salgado

    Well, you do seem to have missed the part where he warns of the danger of sticking to our own versions of history and the parts about mutual respect.

  • Mark

    Could you be a bit more specific Joe . What lies are you referring to ?

  • Mister_Joe

    Any and all lies, Mark.
    One example is referred to in the “For all the goodwill breaking out in Belfast, there was precious little of it in the Dáil… ” blog.

  • “Martin: For 40 years my life has been about changing all of that.”

    The late Sr Souboris put it most succinctly almost 40 years ago whilst others were on the rampage:

    I only wish more people in our divided communities could experience how easy it is to love and live together once .the will to do so is there

    Sadly, far too many folks were denied that opportunity.

  • Mark

    Joe , for some strange reason , I thought we were discussing McGuinness’ speech on this thread . In that case , fire away with any more meaning of life questions you may have for BIGK ……. or can we all join in ?

  • Mister_Joe


    BIGK talked about the “moral high ground” supposedly occupied by SF and it is relevant to the thread. I was merely seeking clarification.

  • Mark

    That makes two of us then Joe ……

    Glad to hear you’re back on your feet btw .

  • weidm7

    Fair play to Martin, the only thing unionists could find fault in it was how he referred to the Queen, I personally was going to say that he shouldn’t refer to British people as if there were not British people in Ireland, and try to isolate England as the principal negative actor to seperate unionists own Scoth-Irish identity from the dominant English identity within the UK, but no one seemed to mind.

  • salgado

    weidm7 – I noticed that myself. While at the same time trying to isolate MPs within England as people who will support the nationalist cause, and persuade the Unionists to change (here picking out NI unionists as the negative party).

    Not necessarily contradictory, but something that may require a bit of a delicate balancing act.

    It’s a long speech, there’s a lot to get through.

  • BluesJazz

    His remarks about the lack of contact with the Prime Minister ereally take the biscuit. The only time they want to meet David Cameron is to beg for even more money.
    Coming from a man who has never done a days work in his life. And no shooting young female census collectors in the back does not constitute a days work.

  • SK

    “As for the petty dig, to call HM “The British Queen” would not hurt their principles, wheras the Queen of England jibe is simply meant as and taken as an insult to Unionists.”


    In common parlance, a very many people outside the UK would refer to the Queen as the “Queen of England”. Type the phrase into Google and see for yourself.

    Then again, Google’s European headquarters is in Dublin. So yeah, definitely a republican plot.

  • Mister_Joe

    Thanks, Mark.

  • Mark

    You’re welcome Joe .

  • Mark

    ” Never done a days work etc etc ”

    He’s the Joint First Minister of where you live BlueJazz . I’d imagine he’s had to do a few days here and there .

    That’s some accusation to make . The doomsday handsake that didn’t quite pan out the way you thought seems to have really pissed you off . Thank cruncie it’s friday .

  • babyface finlayson

    Lives are ‘lost’ in accidents or acts of God,if he existed, such as the sinking of the Titanic.
    Lives were not lost here but taken by men and women with guns and bombs and a cause they were prepared to kill for.
    When someone says ‘lives were lost’ using the passive voice, it implies an inevitabilty as though no-one made an active choice to pull a trigger or detonate a bomb.
    Lives were taken.

  • ranger1640

    SK In common parlance is ” machine gun mcguinness” type into google or the various combinations, and see what comes up.

    here is a start:

    Were they lives lost or more accurately lives assassinated.

  • ranger1640
  • Alan N/Ards


    I’m in total agreement with you on republican’s lack of support for the victims of republican violence. If McGuinness really wants to reach out to unionist’s, he needs to address the atrocities like Kingsmill. La Mon, Teebane and Enniskillen. If he is a politician for all the people, as he says he is, why does he only call for inquiries in to nationalist loss of life.

    I realise that McGuiness has come a long way over the past decade but if he wants to be taken seriously by unionist’s then he needs to start answering questions about the massacares committed by the gang he commanded for a time.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Everyone in America refers to her as the Queen of England, too. Are they trying to wind up NI Unionists?
    The woman is, in her manner and speak and by virtue of where she was born and raised, quintessentially upper class English in the eyes of anyone not from the UK.

  • BIGK

    Alan N/Ards, I see unionist’s killed in atrocities while nationalists just lost their lives? maybe misplaced them do you think?. May I suggest you take your head out from where it is hidden and see what really happened in this country.
    Did her majesty not command an army who committed atrocities? and who by the way are still doing it in Iraq and Afghanistan where they have no more right to be than they had here.
    As for her title it really does’nt matter if you call her the queen of sheeba she and her spawn are a drain on society,they are one and all nothing but a bunch of inbred leeches living a life, that each of us could not even dream of, at our expence.

  • Alan N/Ards


    I’m afraid you have got it wrong. My head is hidden no where. I can see and hear fine and I know what happened in this country.No one is denying that the army did wrong during the “troubles” but republicans are in denial about their role in the “troubles. The question I’m asking here is why are republicans not taking responibility for their crimes. Republicans killed more catholics than the army during this period yet they demand that only the state answer questions about atrocities ( I have no problems using that word) like Ballymurphy. I would say that if republican’s are genuine about reaching out unionist’s then they are going about it the wrong way regarding calling for inquiries for one community. There are hurting families on both sides.

  • son of sam

    Im not sure why Alan brings the G A A into what is essentially a blog about Sinn Fein and its view of the world.On the surface it seems that the Ulster Council of the G A A is trying to broaden its spectator and player base .A perhaps more relevant point for the Ulster Council and its constituent counties is their attitude to the Queens visit to Croke Park last year.All the Ulster counties with one honourable exception (Down) boycotted the occasion .It might be inferred that Sinn Fein had some part to play in this.One would like to think that these same counties now feel somewhat bemused and not a little annoyed at the volte face by Martin & the Shinners.The lesson to be learnt from any dealings with S F is that the party will always come first. Those who have been used along the way may ruefully reflect on this.

  • Submariner

    Not sure if Martys outreach isint just a waste of time. Unionizts judging by the replies on here are not intrested and seem stuck in the past. Where is the unionist outreach to nationalists why still no public hand shake by robinson with mcguinness. As for stating that republicans are ignoring their past in the past try looking a bit closer to home first.

  • Toastedpuffin

    The one thing that strikes me about wee Marty’s speech is how rambling and incoherent it is. Plus, he seems to have aged visibly since The Handshake. What’d the Queen have on those gloves….?

  • seamus60

    Theres no short way of trying to dress up surrender.