Sinn Féin Councillor blasts McGuinness handshake
The infamous handshake.
Published on Friday 29 June 2012 11:27
One of the most vocal proponents of Sinn Féin in South Donegal yesterday morning slammed the meeting between Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and Queen Elizabeth at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast yesterday.
Former Mayor of Bundoran Sinn Fein councillor Michael McMahon has blasted the handshake between McGuinness and the Queen saying that it was “simply a step too far”
Cllr. McMahon’s views are in stark contrast with the official stance taken by Sinn Féin and may well have endangered his future in the party. Putting this to the councillor, Cllr. McMahon said that “he didn’t care and that he couldn’t hide behind his views or the views of many other republicans.”
The media both national and worldwide have hailed McGuinness as a statesman praising his transition from a self confessed commander of the IRA to a statesman.
Mr. McGuinness met with Queen Elizabeth who was dressed in green early yesterday morning at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre along with First Minister Peter Robinson and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip.
Cllr. McMahon yesterday told the Donegal Democrat, “I am not in favour of this meeting by a long head - I think it is wrong, it is premature and a step too far.
“I feel that I have a responsibility to remind people that this is the very person that decorated the paratroopers that killed innocent victims on Bloody Sunday.
“She is also responsible as Commander in Chief of the armed forces for the continued occupation of the six counties. Martin McGuinness should be asking the British Government and the Queen what is the real position in relation to the Six Counties. By meeting with the Queen he is acknowledging her as Head of State in Northern Ireland and giving legitimacy to the situation.”
McMahon also said that McGuinness had claimed that there was normalisation in the Six Counties but that he disputed this.
“The army are still there and the Good Friday agreement has never been fully implemented - we still have a long way to go and this meeting has sent out the wrong message to many republicans who have worked so hard to bring peace to this country.
“It leaves republicans confused - they do not know what direction the party is taking”.
McMahon added that a lot had been achieved over the last number of years through the democratic process and he welcomed this progress.
“I am part of the democratic process and feel it is my right to express my views even if they are at odds with the party.
“We have achieved a lot over the last number of years and I would call on all Republican groups to cease all military activities. The armed struggle is over and there is no going back.
“We must continue along the road of democracy to achieve the goal we set out as a party.”
This is but one example that there is not universal approval among republicans or even among Sinn Fein members for the Deputy First Minister’s handshake with the British “monarch”. I have been told that there is as much opposition as there is approval. Graffiti abounds in Derry. But, as usual, you don’t hear about those things when they are not in agreement with the party line.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians