Martin McGuinness passed over for peace award

Martin McGuinness pictured in his beloved home place of Derry.
Martin McGuinness pictured in his beloved home place of Derry.

The late Martin McGuinness has missed out on a prestigious peace award, which includes the likes of Nelson Mandela among its past winners.

The former deputy first minister and Sinn Fein veteran, who passed away in March, was one of six nominees shortlisted for the Tipperary Peace Award 2016.

Relatives of IRA victims had been deeply critical of Mr McGuinness’s inclusion on the shortlist, with some calling for the former IRA commander’s name to be removed.

This week, it was announced that the award would be given to a group of rescue workers based in Syria.

The Syria Civil Defence (White Helmets) will pick up the accolade at Ballykisteen Hotel, Tipperary on Wednesday, September 6.

In a statement, the Tipperary Peace Convention said the award is “a testament to the enormous bravery and courage shown” by the White Helmets, who have saved more than 100,000 people, while 192 of the unarmed volunteers have lost their lives.

Responding to news of the selection, a spokesperson for the group said: “We are very happy to receive this peace prize because it means that there are still people around the world who support our mission to protect lives, and that the voices for peace are much stronger than the voices for war.”

Other nominees included Amnesty International (Ireland); the Kenyan-based Irish priest Fr Patrick Devine, who worked in Africa for 25 years to mitigate conflict and poverty; as well as Lady Rabab al Sadr, a Lebanese activist and philanthropist who worked with the Imam al-Sadr Foundation providing assistance to orphaned and dependent girls.