McGuinness: Robinson ‘crossed the line’

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that First Minister Peter Robinson “has crossed a line” by suggesting a deal had been reached on welfare reform.

Mr Robinson said that Sinn Féin had agreed to implement the controversial cuts and then reneged on the deal, a claim denied by Mr McGuinness.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speaking reporters in Derry. (0404MM30)

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speaking reporters in Derry. (0404MM30)

Speaking in Derry this morning, Mr McGuinness said; “He quite clearly crossed a line that he shouldn’t have crossed. For a start, his interpretation of a discussion that took place between his party and my party on the subject of welfare cuts bore no relation to the reality.

“The suggestion that I had said I would go to my party to seek the sanction of my party is not true.”

The Deputy First Minister accused the DUP leader of failing to deliver on a range of Executive commitments, including the peace and reconciliation centre at Long Kesh, and the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority.

Mr McGuinness also said Mr Robinson and other unionist leaders have been found wanting in their response to loyalist violence.

“Throughout my tenure as DFM I have endeavoured to give responsible political leadership, even in the most critical testing times. For example, whenever two soldiers were killed in Antrim, I stood with Peter Robinson and the Chief Constable of the PSNI and I gave leadership to the entire community, not least to the republican community, in terms of those who would try to plunge us back to the past.

“When I needed Peter Robinson to stand with me over the course of the last 18 months against the activities of the UVF, I looked around he wasn’t there,” he said.