Martin McGuinness Resigns, Condemning The Bad Faith Of The DUP And The UK

The text of Martin McGuinness’ resignation letter in full, where the former deputy first minister in the north-eastern executive lays out the prejudices, from hibernophobia to homophobia, which drive the politics of the Democratic Unionist Party and its current leadership.

Mr Robert Newton MLA

Speaker

Northern Ireland Assembly

Parliament Buildings

Ballymiscaw

Stormont

BELFAST

BT4 3XX

9 January 2017

Robin, a chara,

Over ten difficult and testing years, in the role of deputy First Minister, I have sought with all my energy and determination to serve all the people of the north and the island of Ireland by making the power-sharing government work.

Throughout that time, I have worked with successive DUP First Ministers and, while our parties are diametrically opposed ideologically and politically, I have always sought to exercise my responsibilities in good faith and to seek resolutions rather than recrimination. I have worked tirelessly to defend our peace process, to advance the reconciliation of our community and to build a better future for our young people.

At times I have stretched and challenged republicans and nationalists in my determination to reach out to our unionist neighbours. It is a source of deep personal frustration that those efforts have not always been reciprocated by unionist leaders. At times, they have been met with outright rejection.

The equality, mutual respect and all-Ireland approaches enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement have never been fully embraced by the DUP. Apart from the negative attitude to nationalism and to the Irish identity and culture, there has been a shameful disrespect towards many other sections of our community. Women, the LGBT community and ethnic minorities have all felt this prejudice. And for those who wish to live their lives through the medium of Irish, elements in the DUP have exhibited the most crude and crass bigotry.

Over this period successive British governments have undermined the process of change by refusing to honour agreements, refusing to resolve the issues of the past while imposing austerity and Brexit against the wishes and best interests of people here.

Against this backdrop the current scandal over the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has emerged.

It is my firm view that the DUP’s handling of this issue has been completely out of step with a public mood which is rightly outraged at the squandering of public money and the allegations of misconduct and corruption. The public are demanding robust action and accountability but the DUP, in particular its leader Arlene Foster, have refused to accept this.

The DUP leader has a clear conflict of interest. She was the Minister responsible for the RHI scheme at its inception. No cost controls were put in place and warnings were ignored. This has led to an enormously damaging pressure on our public finances and a crisis of confidence in the political institutions.

The Minister responsible for the RHI scheme should have no Executive role in overseeing how this will be rectified.

There are significant conflict of interest issues and I have urged Arlene Foster to stand aside without prejudice to ensure confidence in the necessary investigation and in the wider public interest. These institutions only have value if they enjoy the confidence and support of the people they were established to serve. They only have meaning if they are delivering fairly for all our people based on the principles of equality and mutual respect on which they were founded.

I have sought to maximise the potential of the institutions for forward progress in a society emerging from a bitter conflict. But the refusal of Arlene Foster to recognise the public anger or to exhibit any humility in the context of the RHI scandal is indicative of a deep seated arrogance which is inflicting enormous damage on the Executive, the Assembly and the entire body politic.

The First Minister has refused to stand aside, without prejudice, pending a preliminary report from an investigation.

That position is not credible or tenable.

The Irish and British governments have internationally binding obligations to uphold issues of equality and parity of esteem. They need to fulfil these obligations.

Therefore, it is with deep regret and reluctance, that I am tendering my resignation as deputy First Minister with effect from 5pm on Monday, 9th January, 2017.

In the available period Sinn Féin will not nominate to the position of deputy First Minister. We now need an election to allow the people to make their own judgement on these issues democratically at the ballot box.

Yours sincerely

Martin McGuinness

MARTIN McGUINNESS MLA

deputy First Minister”

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35 comments

  1. Stunned, but not surpised. Martin could only endure so much humiliation and racism for so long. He served with honour, upheld the peace agreement, and was undermined and insulted from all Unionist entities. Disgusting> I am surprised he put up with it as long as he did.

    1. Served with honour? Like repeatedly groveling before an english monarch? Supporting the ruc/psni? Calling republicans traitors,criminals and terrorists? Calling for republicans to be put in british gaols? Do tell me what is honourable about that.

    2. Very, very sad to see how ill he is. But I’ve been hearing stories of his condition for some while, and news of SF jumping ship came out in the last few days. McGuinness’ illness is definitely a factor in them going for broke.

  2. The republican hating politician will be back. He has been taking the “queen’s” ££££££ for over 40 years. Why stop now?

        1. Oh please, not that tired old chestnut. By all means criticise McGuinness and others for the events of the 1990s, the “sell-out” if you will, but there were no other inducements. If McGuinness was recruited around 1972, which is the main conspiracy theory, then it took him and the British a full 25 years to bring an end to (P)IRA’s armed struggle! Seriously?

          You can certainly disagree with McGuinness, and be aggrieved by things he did, but is it not enough to simply believe that he got it wrong? That the policy adopted by him, Adams and the rest of the kitchen cabinet was flawed and mistaken? There is no need for sinister forces working away in the background. If you are of that critical frame of mind, all you need say is that the “Provos” read the situation, the unionists and the British completely and disastrously wrong. That makes them foolish but not card-carrying traitors.

          1. So I guess you think it is some sort of miracle McGuinnes went the past 40 years without being arrested,no loyalist attempts on his life,meanwhile being the most public and senior figure in PIRA. Dee Fennel has had more harrasment by police in 2 years than McGuinness has had in past 40. So you support McGuinness calling republicans traitors,criminals and terrorists? There are men who knew McGuinness since childhood and spent years in PIRA who have no doubt McGuinness is a british agent.

            1. Again, if Martin McGuinness was recruited by MI5/SS in 1972 and the final IRA ceasefire came in 1997, it took Britain’s greatest spy in republican ranks some 25 years to turn on his own people. Seriously?

              1. In 1971 and 72 Derry Brigade was one of the most effective and deadliest brigades in PIRA. After McGuinness took over it became the weakest,most innefective,most inactive,most riddled with touts brigade in PIRA. Mc Guinness took Derry out at the knees. As he rose in the ranks he took out other brigades and pira itself. Brian Kennan believed Martin was an agent in the late 70s. East Tyrone brigade and South Armagh didn’t want McGuinness to have any control over them. Soon as he got it vols started dying. And you still haven’t answered why McGuinness had led such a charmed existance. Luck? He is a protected species.

              2. He didn’t lead a charmed existence. He was arrested/detained/imprisoned a number of times in the 1970s. Living in Derry, his growing prominence in SF, the party’s rising power in the mid-1980s, and the unacknowledged truce in Derry between the IRA and the British Army in the 1990s, cocooned him somewhat from the immediate effects of the conflict. Circumstances not conspiracy explain everything.

              3. McGuinness turned on his own people from the start. It takes many years to undermine and weaken a powerful guerrilla army. McGuinness handed over PIRA and their weapons to the brits on a silver platter.

              4. You sound like you’re trying to convince yourself. MMG hasn’t spent a day in gaol in 40 years. No attempts on his life. Derry brigade started to fold up as far back as the late 70s. Lots of PSF members were killed or attacked through all those yrs. Mmg never. Supergrass trials early 80s. Scores of Derry republicans rounded up. Not MMG. Oversight by the brits? Look at Fennel,Reilly,Donnelly. Brits never leave them alone. McGuinness is a protected species. End of.

          2. I remember not that many years ago PSF was sending Denis Donaldson to America to get supporters there to back the pacification process. I remember not that long ago PSF was defending Scappaticci and scoffing at claims he was an agent. Where are those 2 now?

    1. Difficult one for me to write after seeing Martin McGuinness’ obvious frailness on television. That has effected me. There is politics to all this but also the very personal too. Martin McGuinness is the Michael Collins of my generation, for good and for ill. His loss will be a watershed in our history.

        1. Yes, but how many wept bitter tears in the late summer of 1922 when they heard that Collins was killed and regretted it their entire lives? Those who stood by the Republic were decent charitable men and women, not the bitter, blood-thirsty reactionaries of the Free State. I would rather be with the angels than the devils.

  3. Maybe now McGuiness will realise what true republicans have been saying for years. He tried and failed. The biggots understand one thing and one thing only. Now they have no RUC or UDR to fight their battles. Britain has one option and that is get out and stay out and take the she man with you and it’s supporters. Ireland can stand on its own two feet.

    1. Though at least you can say, he tried. Hopefully the crisis – as with the GFA – is the beginning of the end, not the end itself. If the assembly election is called northern nationalists need to vote, Vote, VOTE!

  4. “He tried and failed”.True. The RHI scandal and the cut in irish language bursaries were probably the straws that broke the camel’s back.
    Mcguinness did everything possible to try and make appeasement work. And his lengthy 10-year list of failures to get anything past the DUP sectarian stone-walling showed appeasement couldn’t and didn’t work.Hopefully his resignation ends the British solution of “power-sharing” that they have been insisting on since the 1970s. Let’s hope SF hold to their promise not to go back to the status quo.

    1. Agreed. Let us also hope that stay-at-home nationalist voters in the north-east come out on election day. An SF first minister is not impossible. This will be my message if the election is called for the assembly. Vote!

      1. Wouldn’t make any difference. Besides real republicans have long since gotten wise to PSF. Many republicans simply don’t vote anymore. Or they vote for viable alternatives when they pop up like PBP.

          1. A “nationalist” FM who supports British rule,supports the ruc/psni,bows before elizabeth windsor,calls for republicans to be imprisoned. Like I said,it would make no difference. Worse than that imagine if McGuinness gets outted like Denis Donaldson.

  5. There is choreography at work here also, Martin knows his time is up in more ways than one, time to talk truth to power, to land a spot on some plaque on some wall. Official brexit come march will spotlight fresh 6 county elections and being the glorified ‘Finchly’ that it is in terms of costing the exchequer, it may become an existential issue.
    With SF Forcing an election the hope is that enough moderate unionists will fracture from the traditional unionst parties to the alliance etc, a shift to the middle to soften the blow of reunification whilst the nationalist majority awaits their offspring to be the voting majority by 2030.
    Hope so

  6. why is “reunification” desirable? for all it’s flaws the Irish state at least functions. why do you want to graft 1 million unionist ‘wreckers’ into this state. Britain can safely tolerate the northerners as they have effectively no say in the British state or British politics and can be contained with handouts from the exchequer. This country wouldn’t be able to do that.

    1. There is nowhere near 1 million Unionists in Northern Ireland. And they are all talk. Without the RUC running the UDA/UVF they would be rounded up in days.

      Nope, Unionism is a busted flush and with Brexit breathing down their necks enough will flip to give us a border poll victory.

      Although, having taken a look at the blog posts on slugger I see that prick Fealty is as usual blaming SF every step of the way, even when they do the things he cricitised them for not doing. That guy must be getting funds from Unionism to keep the lights on, no other explanation for the rank and obvious idiocy he’s been on the past few years.

    2. Because we are one island nation, wrongly partitioned, with part of our national territory retained by our former colonial masters? Because a great historical and anti-democratic wrong was done in the 1920s? Because you don’t give in to fascists, racists and ethnicists? Because British guns on Irish lands will always lead to Irish resistance? Because a single island economy and tax base will always be better than one artificially divided? Because it will benefit our membership of the EU? Because it will eventually end 800 years of conflict in the only way it could be ended? And so on…

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