McGuinness delivers Warrington peace lecture

Pacemaker Press 1/3/11 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness  during  the launch of the Hunger Strike 30th Anniversary Exhibition in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast yesterday Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 1/3/11 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness during the launch of the Hunger Strike 30th Anniversary Exhibition in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast yesterday Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said he would not attempt to excuse the killing of two young boys in an IRA bomb in Warrington 20 years ago.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said he would not attempt to excuse the killing of two young boys in an IRA bomb in Warrington 20 years ago.

Mr McGuinness made the remark in the annual peace lecture at the Tim Parry and Jonathon Bell Foundation in Warrington, which was named after the boys who were killed in the bomb attack in 1993.

The senior Sinn Féin figure was invited to deliver the lecture by Colin Parry, father of Tim.

Mr McGuinness said; “There can be no greater tragedy in life than parents having to bury their child. The deaths of children as a result of the conflict is something that those of us who were engaged in armed organisations, be they British or Irish have to accept responsibility for.

“No child whether they were killed with a plastic bullet fired by a British soldier or RUC man, or killed by an IRA action or by a loyalist gang should have died.”

“As a republican leader it would be hypocritical for me to seek to distance myself from the consequences of armed struggle or the IRA’s role in it. Nor can or would I attempt to excuse the human loss caused by the IRA bomb in Warrington.”

Mr McGuinness also said he was due to hold a secret meeting with a British government representative on the day of the bombing.

“On that Saturday morning I was in the process of making arrangements through a back channel to the British government for a meeting between myself and Gerry Kelly with a representative of the British government in Derry. Two days later that meeting happened.

“The British government could have walked away – but they knew as did we – that the only resolution to the conflict lay in dialogue. “There would never be a military solution to the political conflict we were in,” he explained.

The Deputy First Minster also paid tribute to the work of Mr Parry and the peace foundation. “He became a great advocate for peace in Ireland; a champion for peace and the resolution of conflict. In doing so he has made a valuable contribution to the new and peaceful society we have in Ireland today,” he said.

Mr McGuinness also said he is disappointed the DUP have not agreed to the building of a peace centre at the former Long Kesh prison. “Sinn Féin is disappointed that our partners in government in the north of Ireland, the DUP, have reneged on a Programme for Government commitment to build a peace centre at the Maze Long Kesh site. For many, given the journey we have all trodden and the changes that have come about and our work abroad as advocates of peace building, it beggars belief that we cannot agree on the building of a peace centre,” he said.