DFM rebukes Tebbit 'assassination hope'

Published Wednesday, 09 April 2014
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Lord Tebbit's remarks expressing hope that Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness would be shot in the back by the Real IRA were "not fitting" for someone in his position, the deputy First Minister has said.

DFM rebukes Tebbit 'assassination hope'
Martin McGuinness at the Royal banquet at Windsor. (© PA)

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has described the former Conservative Party chairman's comments, made in the wake of Mr McGuinness's attendance at a Royal banquet, as advocating assassination.

Lord Tebbit, who was injured alongside his wife in the 1984 Brighton bombing, expressed contempt over the former IRA commander's historic visit to the Queen's residence at Windsor.

"There's always the possibility that a member of the Real IRA will be so outraged by Mr McGuinness bowing to the Queen that they might shoot him in the back for it," he said.

"We can but hope."

Norman Tebbit and his family have been very badly hurt by the conflict - I absolutely understand that.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Mr McGuinness was a guest of the Queen at a banquet to mark the first ever official visit by an Irish head of state - something he insisted did not diminish his position as an Irish republican.

"I went to Windsor Castle last night as an unapologetic Irish republican and I'm still an unapologetic Irish republican this morning, so I think it is possible to do these things," he told RTÉ radio.

"Particularly in the context of a very clear indicator that others - such as Queen Elizabeth in her visit to our country, both to Belfast and to the south - were prepared to show impressive leadership in the context of conflict resolution and acts of reconciliation."

Speaking about the comments made by Lord Tebbit, Mr McGuinness added: "Obviously the sentiments that he has expressed, I think, are not fitting for someone in the elected position he has been in for a very long time.

"I'm not going to make an issue of it. Other people have certainly raised it with me, and some people have advocated that I should make an issue of it - I don't intend to do so."

Gerry Adams added: "I fully understand that Norman Tebbitt has himself been a victim of the political conflict and I regret that he has suffered grievously.

"However, to publicly advocate the assassination of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is a shocking throwback to a violent past from which we are seeking to move on.

"The State visit is another important milestone in doing that."

He further called for political leaders on both sides of the Irish Sea to reject the sentiments expressed by Lord Tebbit.

My visit to Ireland and your visit this week, Mr President, show that we are walking together towards a brighter, more settled future. We will remember our past, but we shall no longer allow our past to ensnare our future.

The Queen

Martin McGuinness stood and joined in a toast to the Queen and Irish President Michael D Higgins at Tuesday night's event, as the orchestra played God Save The Queen.

"I believe I have the overwhelming support of the people of Ireland for what I did last night," the deputy First Minister said.

However, a small protest had been held outside Windsor Castle and relatives of victims of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings called for Mr McGuinness to be arrested.

"I understand that people are hurting as a result of the fall-out from the conflict," he said.

"Many in my community - in the republican, nationalist community - are also hurting as a result of the conflict. Different sections of that community come to this at different speeds."

Mr McGuinness has now met the Queen twice, having first shaken hands during a Royal visit to Northern Ireland in 2012.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
42 Comments
Larry in Belfast wrote (243 days ago):
No I dropped history in school when I realised it was a waste of time.
AK in Ireland wrote (253 days ago):
@larry You obviously skipped history class
Larry in Belfast wrote (254 days ago):
@Jonathan in An Lur - It seems to me you have a big Irish chip on your shoulder, if you read the comment you would see I was complimenting the Sinn Fein while stating a fact about justice. By the way you can only invade a foreign country, Northern Ireland is British and part of the United Kingdom.
John in Creggan wrote (255 days ago):
Norman Tebbit in the cabinet during the "shoot to kill" policy & in a government that was told by a Chief constable that he met "a wall of silence" within the RUC. Lord Tebbit who in his Daily Telegraph blog of the 3rd March said he "will not stomach" British troops face charges for crimes in the North. Seems to me that as long as the bullets are aimed in one direction Norman is OK
Jonathan in An Lur wrote (256 days ago):
@Larry in Belfast - " proper circumstances he would be in prison"....if it were proper circumstances the British would never have invaded Ireland and their soldiers would not have, for example, shot children to death as happened in Newry, and Britain would be tried in The Hague and dozens of British Army murderers would be in prison, but sure the IRA came out of a massive vacuum didn't they. Please don't get righteous about your 'proper circumstances'.
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