Campbell calls McGuinness ‘contradictory’ after speech

EAST Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has blasted comments made by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as ‘offensive’ and ‘contradictory’.

He hit out after Martin McGuinness told a crowd at a 1916 Easter Rising commemoration in the Loup that the IRA were ‘revolutionnaries’ rather than ‘war mongers’.

Speaking out against dissident republicans, Mr McGuinness added: “No act of violence will advance the cause of reunification by one millimetre”.

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Mr Campbell said: “Murder by dissident republicans is wrong today but murder by the PIRA 30 years ago was every bit as wrong. The murder of RUC officers, innocent men, women and children was always wrong.

“It doesn’t matter who was or is planting the bomb, there is no justification for murder. The more recent murders were as despicable as the other 303 police officer murders during the Troubles.

“I am glad that Northern Ireland is now moving forward and Mr McGuinness condemns the murder of police officers today, but regardless of the motivation behind his comments, he needs to accept murder was also wrong 30 years ago.”

In his speech on Sunday, Mr McGuinness said: “The IRA fought a long guerilla war in these hills and in towns and cities and villages across the north for over 30 years.

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“The IRA forced the British government to the negotiating table. But the IRA were not war mongers. They were a revolutionary force.”

He accused dissidents of living in a ‘fool’s paradise’.

Mr McGuinness said: “Irish people are united in support of the Good Friday, St Andrews and Hillsborough Agreements. Attempting to overturn the will of the Irish people is not only futile, it is stupid and selfish.

“Ireland can now only be reunited by the further development and outworking of the power-sharing and all-Ireland institutions which were endorsed by the Irish people in the referendum of 1998.”