Thursday 22 March 2018

Families of IRA victims left 'horrified' as McGuinness nominated for peace award

Former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Claire O'Boyle

Heartbroken relatives of IRA victims have written to the Tipperary Peace Prize committee over Martin McGuinness's inclusion on the shortlist.

The former Northern Ireland deputy first minister is in the final six for the prestigious award.

Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Ban Ki Moon and inspirational teen activist Malala Yousafzai.

"I'm absolutely distraught," said Margaret Veitch, whose parents William and Agnes Mullan died in the Enniskillen bombing on November 8, 1987.

Jane Hunter, whose husband Lance Corporal Stephen Burrows was one of five soldiers killed in an IRA "proxy" bomb in October 1990, said she was "horrified" at the news.

And David Temple, whose brother William was just 16 when he was killed by the IRA in the 1972 Claudy bombing, said it was a "kick in the teeth".

However, Martin Quinn from the Tipperary International Peace Awards said the shortlist was drawn up by an external group - and the Tipperary Peace Convention does not participate or interfere in this.

"In order to protect the independence of the process, Tipperary Peace Convention does not enter into discussion on the merits or de-merits of any individual nominee who is shortlisted for the award. To do so would be to effectively compromise the eventual final selection process.

"We also wish to assure you that the final selection process will be one that is completely independent and fair and considerate of all aspects that one would consider worthy of being a recipient of the Tipperary International Peace Award."

Other names on the shortlist include human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, Kenyan-based priest Fr Patrick Devine, and the Syrian White Helmets.

Irish Independent

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