Belfast Telegraph

Victims' campaigner accused of threats over Martin McGuinness peace prize shortlist

By Cate McCurry

A representative of the Tipperary Peace Prize committee has accused a victims' campaigner of threatening its members after he raised concerns over Martin McGuinness' inclusion on its shortlist.

Northern Ireland's former Deputy First Minister - a former IRA commander in Londonderry - is in the final six for the prestigious award.

Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Ban Ki Moon and inspirational teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.

Kenny Donaldson, a spokesman for the Innocent Victims United group, and a number of families of IRA victims wrote to the committee to request a meeting with a representative.

The peace convention stated it would not agree to the meeting, saying it would "compromise" the final selection process.

Following a number of emails, Mr Donaldson told the committee that their refusal to meet with victims and survivors of IRA atrocities was "disgraceful".

"I'm actually flabbergasted at the naivety and absolute lack of empathy that is being shown," he added.

In response to Mr Donaldson's statement, a representative suggested his correspondence would be passed to Garda. "Please note that this is considered to be a threat to our members and your letter is being handed over to the appropriate authorities," the email said.

"Please do not communicate any further in this matter."

Mr Donaldson said he was left "shocked" at their reply.

Martin Quinn, honorary secretary of the convention, said it would not be "appropriate" to meet with any group or individual about their views on a particular nominee.

"If we met with them it would seriously compromise the selection process - it's not because we don't want to meet someone," he said. "If we did that others would also seek a meeting and that would not be appropriate."

He said he understood their disappointment at not being able to voice their concerns.

Mr Donaldson said: "To those who have put him forward and who have bought into provisional revisionist theory, they need to understand the message they are conveying to not only the local community but also the international world."

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