2016 should unite rather than divide us - McGuinness

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness has said genuine, inclusive dialogue was key to the success of the Irish peace process and can help resolve other conflicts around the world.

Mr McGuinness was speaking at the Drew University Transatlantic Connections Conference in Bundoran where he delivered the keynote address along with UUP leader Mike Nesbitt.

Mr McGuinness said: “Dialogue was the key to the peace process in Ireland. It is the key to progress today, and the alternative to terrible conflict, in Gaza, in Syria, in Africa and in Ukraine.

“The main lesson of the peace process has been that through dialogue, and a genuine commitment to understanding each other’s position and working together we can achieve great things.

“This year, that is a lesson which I hope we can all embrace as we mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

“2016 and the decade of centenaries should be something that unites rather than divides us. These are opportunities to explore, understand and celebrate - rather than fear - our differences.

“I hope that everyone can find space over the coming year to explore and understand the vision of 1916 and its ongoing relevance.

“Our people - regardless of religious or national identities - still demand social justice and equality today.

“Working together, we can build the kind of society that delivers it.”