Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

IRA victim’s fury over peace award decision

A victim of the IRA ‘Poppy Day' massacre has attacked Peter Robinson’s decision to accept a peace award with Martin McGuinness on Remembrance Day.

Jim Dixon said the award by the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in the Republic “beggared belief”.

The Belfast Telegraph yesterday revealed the Wicklow-based charitable organisation is to confer the joint honour at a gala dinner in a Dublin hotel on November 11.

The invitation acknowledged both the personal and political risks the First and Deputy First Ministers have “taken for peace” — and added: “They have both demonstrated leadership and imagination in bringing their constituencies together.”

Mr Dixon, who remains in constant daily pain, said it was “sick” that the First Minister was accepting a peace prize with the former IRA second-in-command on Armistice Day.

“It beggars belief that Peter Robinson would go for a peace award on the day when the IRA carried out its worst atrocity — and Martin McGuinness was a leader.

Mr Dixon, the most seriously injured survivor of the Enniskillen bombing in 1987, added: “It is bad enough getting into bed with an IRA commander, but it’s a lot worse to lift a peace award on the day that the organisation which Robinson's co-partner supported carried out the greatest massacre Ulster has ever seen.

“For it to be taking place on November 11 is just sick, it is really rubbing our noses in it. It is a shame that Peter Robinson does not know better.”

Eleven people were killed and around 60 injured in the November 8 attack.

In response a DUP spokesman said: “We understand the dissatisfaction and anger Jim has regarding SF.

“It is not the DUP which elects SF, rather the nationalist community.”

A spokesman for the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers added: “Neither minister is accepting the award on their own behalf, but rather in recognition of a community that has overcome conflict and division and embraced a new peaceful era.”

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