Belfast Telegraph

Dissidents stupid, says McGuinness

Dissident republicans are living in a fool's paradise if they think they can reunite Ireland by violence, Martin McGuinness has insisted.

Addressing a traditional republican commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, the Sinn Fein figurehead said the action of the renegades was futile, stupid and selfish.

Claiming the countdown was on to a united Ireland, Stormont's Deputy First Minister told crowds at Loup, Co Derry that it had to be achieved peacefully and democratically and with unionist support.

He also rejected claims from the extremists that they were the true IRA.

Mr McGuinness claimed the IRA that existed during the Troubles was not a warmongerer.

"They were a revolutionary force who when an opportunity to advance the struggle for Irish unity through peaceful means was established it removed itself from the political equation," he said.

"The IRA by its nature was of the people and for the people.

"It could not have survived and fought the British state the way it did if it was small and unrepresentative.

"People should be under no illusion, the small factions currently engaging in armed actions are not the IRA and they are not advancing national and democratic objectives by their activities."

He added: "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."

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