Sinn Fein leaders have warned Dissident Republicans to lay down their arms – and claimed the Irish and British governments are treating the peace process with complacency.
The party’s vice-president Mary Lou McDonald and Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness both spoke out at events to commemorate the 1916 Rising.
McGuinness accused the Irish and British governments of ‘becoming complacent’ about the peace process and ‘not honouring commitments in the St Andrew’s Agreement’.
He was also critical of a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron last week.
McGuinness said: “It was one of the least satisfactory engagements I have had with a British premier in the course of the peace process.
“The Irish Government was part of and a signatory to the St Andrew’s Agreement where a financial package was agreed as part of a peace dividend.
“This has been undermined by the failure of the London administration to stand by its commitments. The British Government has reduced the North’s capital budget of £18 billion by 40 per cent even though then British prime minister Gordon Brown said it was a ring-fenced guarantee and it damaged their ability to get the economy going.
“The Irish Government was part of that deal and that makes it incumbent on the Irish Government to put pressure on the British Government to recognise that they should be fulfilling their commitments.”
“While republican and loyalist extremists pose a threat to the peace process the only people who can undermine the institutions, who can destroy the peace process are we the politicians – unionist, republican and nationalist.”
McGuinness also warned Dissident Republicans they have no future despite recent attempts to blow up police officers in the North.
He added: “While much progress has been made, more needs to be done. Recent events on our streets have shown that.
“There are people who dream of wrecking the structures of change. They want to destroy rather than build. Their tools are bigotry, mistrust, militarism and sectarianism.
“Those who prefer conflict and confrontation must be opposed by political leaders united in a vision a peaceful, inclusive and shared future.”
Speaking at an annual 1916 Easter Rising commemoration at Milltown cemetery in west Belfast, Sinn Fein vice president Mary Lou McDonald also spoke out against dissident activities.
She stated: “Armed conflict is in the past; it has no place in the present; no-one has the right to inflict it on our children's future.
“The splinter groups who pursue armed actions today are acting out a travesty that too often has turned to tragedy. They should desist and desist immediately.”
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