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State helped perpetuate the Troubles, says McGuinness

By Noel McAdam

Published 29/06/2015

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Unionist leaders must recognise the role Northern Ireland's "sectarian structure" played in sparking the Troubles, the Deputy First Minister has warned.

Martin McGuinness also called for the Government to build on its acknowledgment of its part in "creating and sustaining" conflict here.

Speaking at the annual republican commemoration in Derry city's cemetery yesterday, the self-confessed former IRA commander reiterated the Sinn Fein mantra that there could be no 'hierarchy' of victims.

"Just as there is no single or agreed narrative of the conflict... there needs to be an acceptance that human beings cry, die, bleed and grieve and are mourned in the same way, and that our common humanity should acknowledge that."

But he went on: "Unionist political leaders also need to recognise their responsibilities and the enormously damaging role that the sectarian structure of this state played in generating decades of conflict.

"In many ways they cling to a past that no longer exists - and in so doing encourage others to do the same."

Mr McGuinness said he believed many within the unionist community want to build a shared future "based on accommodation, inclusivity and mutual respect."

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