The former leader of the Alliance Party John Alderdice described the late Martin McGuinness as an ‘evil man’ two years before the Good Friday Agreement was signed.
A memo of a discussion between the British Ambassador to Dublin, Veronica Sutherland, and Dr. Alderdice, dated April 23, 1996, and newly-released under the 30/20 Year Rule, show the Alliance leader distrusted Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator.
“Alderdice told me [Sutherland] that he thought Adams had genuinely put violence behind him and wanted a settlement.
“He did not think this applied to Martin McGuinness whom he regarded as an evil man,” a note of a meeting at the British Embassy in Dublin states.
The British Ambsassador claimed that Dr. Alderdice also trusted the bona fides of the then Sinn Féin Director of Publicity Rita O’Hare.
“Rita O’Hare had also put her past behind her, and had apologised to him in tears over Sinn Féin’s failure to sign up to consent in the Dublin Form,” the newly-released file shows.
And according to Alderdice some senior unionists were willing to compromise.
“Alderdice also believed that many of the Unionists, and particularly John D Taylor, wanted compromise and a settlement soon.
“In spite of all the problems, Alderdice thought a deal was possible in the coming months.”