McGuinness 'dictator' of Haass process

Published Friday, 17 January 2014
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First Minister Peter Robinson has criticised comments made by deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness regarding the Haass process, accusing him of speaking as a "dictator" on how it will operate.

McGuinness 'dictator' of Haass process
Dr Richard Haass, with Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness. (© UTV)

The DUP leader was reacting to Mr McGuinness's remarks on BBC's The View on Thursday night in which he said unionist leaders had agreed with his analysis that the Orange Order, the UVF and PUP were acting as "one and the same thing".

Mr McGuinness was explaining his motivation for saying in the wake of the Haass deadline that elements within "extreme loyalism" are setting the unionist agenda on Haass.

He added that they have been "hostile to this process".

Mr Robinson said his comments were "irrational and unhelpful" and would do nothing to take negotiations forward.

He said the Sinn Féin MLA had shown a "visceral hatred of the Orange Institution" in the TV interview and explained that the DUP had deliberately invited Orange Order member Mervyn Gibson to be a part of the talks.

"I defy Martin McGuinness to deny that Mervyn Gibson's contribution was anything other than instructive and positive," he added.

He said that it was "not a revelation" to say there was a link between the PUP and the UVF, or that there were Orange Order members also in unionist parties, but he stressed "the Orange Order takes its own counsel and decisions in the same way as any other organisation".

"The Orange has not attempted in any way to impose its will on the process and has most recently issued an encouraging and positive statement expressing its willingness to be helpful."

Mr Robinson said every party had to move to narrow differences and that Sinn Féin "will not dictate the rules of engagement".

The Orange Order also issued a statement, saying the Sinn Féin minister's remarks were "entirely without substance".

"The Orange Institution takes its own decisions, applies its own decisions and stands by its own decisions," a spokesperson said.

"We will continue to speak out and act for what we believe is in the best interests of the Protestant and pro-Union community in Northern Ireland."

Reacting on Friday, Rev Mervyn Gibson said Mr McGuinness' claims were "simply a lie".

"Martin McGuinness has been peddling this line for some time, he decided to embellish it last night by saying some unionist are also saying the same thing," he said.

"I'm disappointed because there's still a lot of work to be done. Parades certainly hasn't been resolved and the Orange Institution stands ready to continue to work to resolve the issue.

"I hope it doesn't spell the end of any process."

The leaders of the Executive parties are expected to hold another meeting next Tuesday.

Earlier this week MLAs at Stormont voted against a Sinn Féin motion accepting Dr Richard Haass' proposals on flags, parades and dealing with the past.

The US team of Dr Haass and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan were brought in in September by the NI Executive parties to attempt to resolve contentious issues, but after seven draft proposals an agreement was not reached by the end-of-year deadline.

© UTV News
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25 Comments
just hamsters in the wheels wrote (241 days ago):
A perfect example of the dictatorial nature of SF/ira and how they are misguiding,misleading and exploiting the mental laziness of the voting public.Nothing but lies upon lies to raise tensions to seal the hardline vote.And all from Martin(not excluding the rest of sf) a man who every time he opens his mouth proves that he believes the delusional thoughts and ramblings controlled by the white mice running about in his head. UTV may choose not to post my comment but I would ask they take into account that I was at one time a member of the OO and find it offensive to be accused of being a member of the uvf.I work within both communities on a daily basis and have never had an issue with my Catholic neighbours,I have Catholic friends who are fully aware of my association with the OO and it's not an issue for them and indeed some go to the parades.To me personally the only barrier I see between both communities are the proxy borders built and maintained by republicans for their own ends.The sooner people realize these proxy borders are just a political illusion to obtain votes and keep murderers on both sides out of jail the sooner we can move on,then the people will put people like Martin and other hardliners in the most appropriate place for them, the history books, under the section "tyrants".
Boru in Ireland wrote (242 days ago):
"McGuinness 'dictator' of Haass process" - says dictator.
John in North of Belfast wrote (242 days ago):
McGuinness has said what a large section of the "unionist" community has thought for years. The perception may habe been reinforced since the DUP/UUP publication on Naiomi Long and the flag protests but it has been there. Watching the sad demise of the Orders in Belfast from proud Christian establishments to what we see now where 'bands' of drunken, ill behaved 'musicians' dictate the tone and manor of processions to church (!?) one wonders of the judgement of ANY political representative who joins in much less attempts to justify the behaviours. The problem we have with what McGuinness has said is that he and his party, with all the progress they have made don't appear genuine in the measured remorse expressed for previous action and still don't appear capable of being honest in giving their account of those actions. They may never be forgiven but it might open more doors for real progress.
jackie in belfast wrote (242 days ago):
What were the proposals that Haass put forward ? Why have these not been made public so the ordinary people can make their own minds up ? Typical Martin McGuiness trying to paint everything unionist as bigoted and sectarian while making his party look like the party for peace and equality !
BRIAN GALLOWAY in belfast wrote (242 days ago):
what doe's mr mcguinness mean ref uvf and the orange order.is the same and one.his remarks are a danger to the whole peace process.I think mr mcguinness and sinn fien. are getting worried that the unionuist people of all sheds are starting to come together.and they will get stronger as time goes by and sinn fien. won't get there utd IRELAND.
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The voice above the crowd didn't come from within that increasingly tense and angry political arena.
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