Dozens of IRA victims have been voicing their “hurt and anger” after hearing that former IRA commander Martin McGuinness will attend a state banquet with the Queen at Windsor Castle this week, it was reported yesterday.
Kenny Donaldson, of Innocent Victims United, said: “Across our member groups dozens of calls have been taken from victims/survivors who have expressed feelings of disappointment, hurt and anger.
“The common thread coming through in the views being expressed is a sense that terrorism has been rewarded and elevated whilst victims/survivors have effectively been demonised and marginalised.
“There are many who are portraying Martin McGuinness’ attendance at this state banquet dinner as a further development of the ‘peace process.’
“Let’s be open and honest once and for all – the ‘peace process’ which these individuals refer to is a process minus victims/survivors.”
He added: “Until there is an acknowledgement by those who murdered their neighbours that there was never a justification for them to do so, then many, many victims/survivors cannot countenance looking at such individuals as anything other than unrepentant terrorists who have simply rebranded themselves as ‘peace activists’.”
Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was murdered by the IRA’s Birmingham bombs in 1974, will lead a protest outside the banquet.
“The reason we are going is because this self-confessed IRA leader should not be given the freedom to be invited to this country,” she said.
“We want to know if Martin McGuinness is one of those who got an on the run comfort letter.
“Gerry Adams said this banquet is a positive step for equality and Irish unity. But there can be no equality without transparency, honesty, integrity and justice.
“We want Sinn Fein to tell us the IRA members who bombed Birmingham, Guildford, Brighton, Canary Wharf and Warrington. We want truth and justice for all the victims across Northern Ireland.”