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Sunday 20 April 2014

Bitter war of words in North over talks failure

Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness smiles as he attends the British-Irish Council meeting at Stirling Castle in Scotland...Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness smiles as he attends the British-Irish Council meeting at Stirling Castle in Scotland June 22, 2012. Former Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander McGuinness will meet Britain's Queen Elizabeth for the first time next week, marking a milestone in the province's peace process. The queen has never met a senior figure in the now-defunct IRA, which killed her relative Lord Mountbatten in 1979, or its political wing Sinn Fein.  REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS SOCIETY)...I
Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness. Photo: Reuters

Simmering political tensions in Belfast yesterday erupted into open rhetorical warfare, with unionists and republicans angrily blaming each other for recent failed attempts to make progress.

Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein's Deputy First Minister, accused unionist parties of "dancing to the tune of extremists" in failing to agree to a deal in recent talks.

He claimed unionist leaders had told him that in Belfast the Orange Order, the main Protestant marching organisation, was "one and the same" as the UVF.

This, he said, had impacted on the recent unsuccessful negotiations chaired by former US diplomat Dr Richard Haass.

But in an angry response, First Minister Peter Robinson of the DUP said: "He speaks as if he is not one of the parties but rather the controller and dictator of how the process will operate."

The heated rhetoric is a sign that the political atmosphere, which has been strained over the past year, has reached a new level of sourness.

Irish Independent

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