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Martin McGuinness: Peter Robinson and I can overcome our difficulties

By John Mulgrew

Published 25/09/2015

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson share a laugh
Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson share a laugh

Martin McGuinness has said a successful talks process can relegate any difficulties he has with DUP leader Peter Robinson to the "back-burner".

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph during a business event yesterday, the Deputy First Minister said: "Political stability is absolutely crucial."

The Sinn Fein MLA added that the two leaders were "trying to get to a place where we can restore the political stability which we had for some years".

Relations between Mr McGuinness and Mr Robinson soured further earlier this week following a disagreement about who knew what over the controversial sale of the Northern Ireland chunk of the Nama portfolio.

Mr McGuinness said there were "very serious questions" about what capacity Mr Robinson was acting in with regard to the Nama loan sale.

Asked whether relations with Mr Robinson were now at an all-time low, Mr McGuinness said: "It always surprises people, contrary to what some commentators say, that the First Minister and I have a good working relationship.

"But I do think there are times when we face difficulties and challenges. But our job is to overcome those challenges, to rise above it.

"I met with Peter yesterday (Wednesday) as part of the ongoing negotiations.

"I think both of us are seized by the need to ensure that we get a successful outcome to these negotiations. I think if we can do that, all of the difficulties we have faced can be relegated to the back-burner."

The DUP leader was at the centre of explosive claims by loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson at finance committee on Wednesday.

Mr Robinson branded the appearance by the flag protester at the Stormont probe into claims of impropriety in the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland £1.2bn loan portfolio as a "pantomime".

Meanwhile, speaking yesterday about the current political and business situation, Mr McGuinness said: "Obviously we are dealing with very challenging issues, particularly budgetary issues, and of course, the situation that jumped up to bite all of us was the murder of two men in east Belfast as the result of the activity of criminals.

"We have to find solutions to that problem, but we also have to ensure that through the course of the negotiations we can get the Stormont House Agreement implemented."

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