Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has launched an extraordinary attack on unionist politicians claiming they “routinely excuse and defend racism, sectarianism and homophobia”.
Mr McGuinness questioned the Democratic Unionist Party and other unionist parties' commitment to power sharing, their rejection of the Parade Commission’s ruling on flags and support of a ban on gay men donating blood.
Mr McGuinness’s stinging criticisms of his partners in the Northern Ireland Assembly were made on the second day of Sinn Fein’s ‘think in’ at An Grianan in Termonfeckin, Co Louth.
“Unionist leaders have singularly failed to reach out or to recognise and accept the validity of nationalist and republican perspectives, narratives and aspirations” he said. “Unionist politicians routinely excuse and defend racism, sectarianism and homophobia.”
He added: “Racism, sectarianism and homophobia are totally and wholly unacceptable.”
The former IRA commander said he never received any words of support from unionist politicians after any of his three meetings with Queen Elizabeth. However, he said people in the unionist and protestant community regularly tell him it was a “good thing to do”.
Mr McGuinness also attacked the British Prime Minister David Cameron for protecting his “rich friends” while forcing swingeing cuts on the people of Northern Ireland
“The Tory led government are now demanding we cut the income of the poorest in our society while their rich bankers continue to avoid and evade taxes,” he said.
Mr McGuinness said “Tory millionaires” who “knew nothing about living on low income” were implementing policies which were not voted for by the people in Northern Ireland.
He said the DUP and other unionist parties supported Mr Cameron’s cuts which were targeted on working class communities.