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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 November 2006, 11:17 GMT
Sinn Féin perspective
On Sunday 26 November, Andrew Marr interviewed Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin
Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin

ANDREW MARR: Welcome Mr McGuinness. Thank you for joining us.

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: Good morning.

ANDREW MARR: Good morning.

First of all I'm sure we can't go into the detail, but were you alarmed and upset about what happened on Friday, particularly since you are named as one of the assailant's intended victims?

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: No, I was neither alarmed or upset. I think that obviously it was an extraordinary event.

And given what passed for the usual for twenty five years in the North of Ireland, this was a most unusual event given the relative peace that we've all been enjoying over the course of the last decade or so.

But I think you know the, the, the greatest praise we have has to be for the civilian attendants, the door staff ...

ANDREW MARR: They were extraordinary weren't they? They were absolutely extraordinary.

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: They were, they were absolutely amazing. And I think that their heroism and their bravery and their courage is an example to all of us. And if politicians have anything to learn from that particular incident, they have to learn the lesson that they too have to be brave and courageous.

That they have to lead from the front. And that they have to move forward to do the business, conclude the final stages of this peace process and put the political institutions back in place.

ANDREW MARR: Well let, let's turn directly to that. Because the situation is that Ian Paisley has half indicated that he might accept nomination as First Minister but throws the ball back to Sinn Fein on backing formally the new policing structure. Now why can't you simply just hold an Ard Fheis and agree that and move forward?

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: Well first of all Sinn Fein is for law and order and Sinn Fein is for policing. We have suffered too much in the past from bad policing. And what we want to see is a police service that is both representative and accountable.

Now what we have to do, the trick in all of this is to help one another and that's why I welcome the fact that the Programme For Government Committee will meet tomorrow, the Assembly will meet tomorrow. And the whole purpose of the St Andrews approach was to create a circumstance where there would be a real engagement between the DUP and Sinn Fein, three ... three auspices of the Programme For Government. I wish that it was stronger than that. I mean many people say to me how to, how do you get agreement with people who won't even speak to you. So that's a big problem within the process. But I absolutely agree that on this issue we have to help one another. Mr Paisley is obviously experiencing difficulties. He is facing challenges. We too within our constituency are facing big challenges. What we have to do is rise to those challenges.

What we have to do is see the problems that are there as problems to be overcome. Now one of the big problems about the issue of policing is that we have a situation where leading members of Ian Paisley's party are demanding that Sinn Fein sign up for policing. But at the same time saying that Sinn Fein will have no say in policing for at least a political life time. Now Ian Paisley really needs to sort that out. And I think what we have to do is help one another. We have to move speedily ..

ANDREW MARR: What - and, and, and, and what ..

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: .. to resolve this issue.

ANDREW MARR: Absolutely. But what can you say in concrete terms to help at this stage? There's a deadline of the thirty first of January. What can you do now to help?

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: Well what I can do is I can clearly outline the circumstances in which Gerry Adams will go to the Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle to seek an Ard Fheis and clearly a number of issues have to be resolved.

The British government have to resolve with us the issue of MI5 because there can be no role for MI5 in civic policing in the North of Ireland given the history of that organisation and its involvement with loyalist paramilitaries over the course of many years. And Ian Paisley can face up to the issue that I just identified, the whole issue of ..

ANDREW MARR: And ..

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: .. when we transfer ..

ANDREW MARR: .. and in terms of ..

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: .. power from London ..

ANDREW MARR: And in sorry, and in terms of facing up will you tell your supporters explicitly to support the police?

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: Well what we want to do is bring about a situation where we can hold our Ard Fheis and if Gerry Adams decides to go to the Ard Comhairle to seek that Ard Fheis then we're obviously going to the Ard Fheis to resolve Sinn Fein's position in relation to policing.

So we've been very decisive about this. And the key to unlocking the door to a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis rests both with the British government and with Ian Paisley. Now what we have to do is buckle down, move speedily, help one another. And I hope over the course of the coming days and weeks that we can do that. We are up for it. We're very positive about what's happening at the moment.

There are clear indicators that there are people within leadership positions within the DUP who recognise that the old days are gone, that we have to move forward to a better future and our people want peace. And we are very, very determined to ..

ANDREW MARR: To achieve that.

MARTIN MCGUINNESS MP: .. ensure that the will of the people comes to fruition.

ANDREW MARR: All right. Martin McGuinness, thank you very much indeed ...

INTERVIEW ENDS


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy


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