Martin McGuinness says Sinn Féin not a threat to powersharing executive
Deputy First Minister says his record in standing up for PSNI ‘second-to-none’
Martin McGuinness: repeated claim that a tiny number of influential people within the PSNI had set out to damage Sinn Féin through Mr Adams’ detention. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.
Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said there is no threat from Sinn Féin to the powersharing executive as a result of Gerry Adams’s arrest.
Speaking in Dublin yesterday before Mr Adams was released from custody, Mr McGuinness said Sinn Féin fully supported the Good Friday bodies and the PSNI.
“The Good Friday institutions are not at risk. The peace process is not at risk. We are absolutely wedded to a project that we have spent almost 25 years building,” he said.
Both Mr McGuinness and Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said they expected Mr Adams to lead the party’s local and European election campaign in the coming weeks.
“Gerry Adams is the leader of Sinn Féin, duly elected and fully supported by the membership, by his parliamentary colleagues North and South, and I believe hugely supported by the ordinary people on the street in Ireland North and South,” Ms McDonald said.
She and Mr McGuinness were speaking to reporters after First Minister Peter Robinson accused Sinn Féin of “bully-boy” tactics over the detention.
Responding, Mr McGuinness said his record was second to none in terms of his willingness to stand up for the PSNI.
He further said that Mr Robinson had been “missing” when Mr McGuinness had sought to issue a joint statement condemning loyalist violence last summer in which 250 PSNI officers were injured.
On contacts with Washington since Mr Adams’ detention, Mr McGuinness said Sinn Féin had a very good relationship with the US government. “We constantly keep the US administration briefed of the situation in the North,” he said.
Of Sinn Féin’s stance on the PSNI, Mr McGuinness said the party had reserved the right to challenge mistakes whenever they were made as would be the case in any country.
“We absolutely, totally, unequivocally support the police services, North and South but we have a difficulty,” he said.
He repeated the claim that a tiny number of influential people within the PSNI had set out to damage Sinn Féin through Mr Adams’ detention, saying he had been told so by senior figures within the force.
“We are absolutely wedded to the political institutions. We’ve been at the heart of driving this process forward,” Mr McGuinness said.
“And I have been . . . absolutely foremost in my defence of the PSNI whenever they have been attacked, not just by loyalist paramilitaries or the Orange order but by so-called dissident republicans.”