'No alternative to dialogue' - McGuinness

'No alternative to dialogue' - McGuinness

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

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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