SDLP MP Mark Durkan paid tribute to the late Martin McGuinness in the House of Commons this week by stating that he had “proved his own better character” through his championship of the Good Friday Agreement.
The Foyle MP acknowledged that as two leaders of rival manifestations of Irish nationalism over the past several decades, they had often been at loggerheads.
Speaking at Westminster, on Tuesday, Mr. Durkan said: “I want to take this opportunity, as MP for Foyle, to pay proper tribute to the late Martin McGuinness, with whom and against whom I worked for well over three decades in all sorts of contexts and roles.
“As his predecessor as Deputy First Minister, as a former colleague in the Government and as a counterpart in the negotiations, I would say that he was someone who went from opposing the very concept of the institutions in which he went on to serve to demonstrating a remarkable capacity for outreach and acknowledgment using those shared offices.”
The former SDLP leader said the late Mr. McGuinness had gone on to become one of the fiercest advocates and defenders of the Good Friday Agreement, the peace process, and the devolved institutions at Stormont, which he had led for the last decade of his life.
Mr. Durkan said: “He proved not just his own better character, in the democratic context, but the transformative value of the institutions that we are talking about.”