Belfast Telegraph

McGuinness in reconciliation plea

The next decade should be one of reconciliation between nationalist and unionist, Martin McGuinness has said.

The 1916 Easter Rising and the signing of the Ulster Covenant against Home Rule will be among important commemorations which the next president will have to mark.

Mr McGuinness was speaking as he launched his election campaign at a Dublin rally on Saturday night.

"It would be my intention as president to use the next 10 years from 2012 and the centenary of the formation of the Ulster Volunteers, the Home Rule campaign and the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the anniversary of the 1916 Rising to transform this decade of commemorations into a decade of reconciliation," he said.

"The decade of reconciliation would celebrate the diverse nature of our society, celebrate the peace we now have and commemorate the events of 100 years ago which defined the direction of Ireland up to the present generation.

"I believe that this is what the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation would have wanted. We must continue to reunify the people of Ireland through reconciliation and respect. That is what will lead to an Ireland that is truly united."

He said a culture of greed was responsible for the financial crisis in Ireland.

"The greed and selfishness that dominated so much of political and business life in Ireland in the Celtic Tiger years is responsible for the financial mess we find ourselves in today," he added.

"Those responsible for this state of affairs are not patriots. Patriotism is about country and people. It is not about self aggrandisement.

"But greed and selfishness is not the Irish way - local identity, community and sense of place is what defines us as Irish people, knowing and helping your neighbour, being tolerant to those who are different."

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