'No alternative to dialogue' - McGuinness

Published Sunday, 31 August 2014
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Twenty years on from the IRA ceasefire, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said that there is no alternative to dialogue and agreement.

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Delivering a keynote address in Derry on Sunday morning, the veteran republican called on dissident republicans still involved in violence to step away from conflict and into politics.

Mr McGuinness said: "The absence of dialogue and a commitment to dialogue as the way to overcome disagreements is at the heart of the growing difficulties we are now facing in the peace process across a range of key issues.

"Rather than making progress on the issues of identity, parading and the past by building on the enormously important work carried out by Richard Haass and Meghan O'Sullivan, the DUP and the UUP have now retreated into a coalition with rejectionist unionism and loyalist paramilitaries."

He accused the DUP of threatening the political institutions three times in the last six months, if they do not get their own way.

Mr McGuinness continued: "But the real threat to the political institutions is stagnation and the absence of progress.

"The real threat is the retreat of political unionism from dialogue, compromise, agreement and reconciliation."

There is no alternative to dialogue and agreement. This is the only path to a shared and better future on this island.

Martin McGuinness

"I have personally tried to understand and reach out to the unionist population not least in my engagements with Queen Elizabeth. But reconciliation is not a one-way street. Unionist leaders need to engage in similar initiatives.

"So there is an enormous onus on those who recognise the enormous progress we have made, and continue to make, since the IRA cessation in 1994 to make their voices heard.

"There can be no return to the violence and repression that scarred this society for so long.

"I would urge dissident republicans still committed to armed actions to take that same step in 2014 into politics and away from conflict."

The Stormont deputy First Minister called on the British and Irish governments to be champions for progress not "facilitators of inertia."

"These are the challenges for all of us as we enter a new term in the Assembly but I am convinced that we can find a resolution to all the difficulties facing the political process."

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37 Comments
lucylou in belfast wrote (51 days ago):
Ryan in An Dun==== I agree Ryan and unfortunately the main parties in power in Stormont both have a tendancy to 'spit the dummy'. Yes making democratic decisions takes dialogue with all parties willing to participate and that is exactly what highlights my point.=We will never progress while these politicians with all the unhelpful history [ALL INCLUDED] are in power--they will never respect or trust each other enough to truly work TOGETHER for everyone and not separately for their 'own' communities. Seeing them all SO distainful of each other certainly does not promote good relations between the communities, no matter how much 'cross community' work is done. I think our best hope lies in new young blood in politics who are strong enough and principled enough not to deal in the sectarian politics we witness today.
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (52 days ago):
just sayin in only here... You talk a lot of rubbish
Ryan in An Dun wrote (53 days ago):
Well Lucy I think in my opinion that we are better with a bad government than none. I'm not on here to tell you that the situation we have smells like roses. There is always room for improvement. You asked how much further on are we. I think quite a bit not not as far as most of us want to be. There are a lot of republicans that don't agree with where Sinn Fein are at the minute. Going for dinner with the Queen didn't have a lot of support in the wider communities but it's the path they are taking. My point is that a democratic society is based on decisions that are made in a democratic way. It takes dialogue from all parties to reach those decisions. For the likes of the DEMOCRATIC unionist party to not respect a democratic decision when it's not what they want is laughable. Why not just change the name of the party. For parties to not get their way and then threaten to spit the dummy out is just stupid. It gets you nowhere and it's the voice of the people that count.
just sayin in only here wrote (53 days ago):
If you were in Stormont and one politician wore a suit and the other politician wore a suit but had a gun in his waistband a balaclava for a hanky and used semtex as a cushion on his ministerial seat,then surely only one is there based on merit and the other is there based on their ability to decide wether we should be allowed to live in peace on his terms only.
lucylou in belfast wrote (54 days ago):
Hi Ryan in An Dun======Yes Ryan I detest that M McGuinness is in government And [At present] quite a few other Sinn Fein councillers/mla's.Too many with past terrorist links . I also hate the fact that P Robinson and so many DUP are councillers/,MLA'S. Dinosaurs who are not worth the seats they sit on. They are bad enough but the horrible PUP man Hutchinson just makes me TOTALLY sick. I was not surprised when McGuinness took to street politics when G Adams was being questioned. To start threatning the withdrawal of support for the country's police force is not good [certainly NOT an alternative to the democratic process and DIALOGUE?] and any glimmer of respect I had accrued for him was extinguished at that point. I feel personally that Belfast's last S Fein Lord Mayor stands head and shoulders above any of them and hope he progresses quickly from the ward he currently represents. I feel our biggest stumbling block is these SF DUP PUP we have in power.It is obvious they will never come to trust each other enough to make any worthwile progress. Really; how much further on are we after how many years of them being in power?. Of course the narrow entrenched mindset of people here will continue to vote for the likes of them. I wish the decent majority had a party/parties who truly want to work for the good of everyone to vote for. You are correct;I don't like McGuinness in power but don't assume because of that I have ANY respect for Robinson and his crowd. We are in my opinion; sadly devoid of decent politicians who can attract the masses from both sides of the divide which we really need so we can be represented as one people/community.
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