Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness yesterday called for talks with dissident republicans in the hope of ending what he said was the suffering of people in Derry and throughout the North.
Addressing the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in Killarney, Mr. McGuinness appealed directly to those responsible for what he described as the ‘shameful’ murders of Kieran Doherty, Andrew Allen, Emmett Shiels, Brian McGlynn and Jim McConnell in the city.
He said: “The actions of these small groups underline their opposition to progress and their rejection of tolerance and change.
Well today I want to send a message directly to them, I am offering them an opportunity to meet and talk, come and tell us what you hope to gain by deluding yourselves and the gullible that your actions will succeed in what is certainly a pathetic and futile attempt to turn back the clock. The war is over and we are in the process of building a new Republic and you can still be part of that,” he added.
He also criticised those responsible for a recent spate of so called ‘punishment’ attacks calling their actions ‘deplorable’ and not needed or wanted.
The Deputy First Minister went on to tell dissidents there was ‘room’ for them to engage in dialogue.
He said: “There is plenty of room within the political process for voices who oppose the Sinn Féin strategy. I was part of the conflict, I was there during the difficult and tragic times we had in the past and let me tell you there was nothing romantic about the war, it was hard, it was painful and it was traumatic and I never ever want the children of Ireland who live today in peace to be subjected to the conflict, pain and hurt that we lived through.”
Referring to the wife of murdered police man Stephen Carroll and the mother of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr who was killed by a bomb placed under his car, the Deputy First Minister said:
“Nuala Kerr and Kate Carroll who I have met and respect are good people who are genuine and sincere supporters of peace and change, my message to those who remain committed to violence is that it is not much of an achievement to think that the only thing you have shown the capability to break are two fine women’s hearts.
“I never want to be attend another funeral of a Police Officer or any other member our society who lost their lives due to violence, so I appeal to you for dialogue but I also say to you that the process of building a new future will continue with or without you, it is your call,” he said.