Murderers are traitors to Ireland - McGuinness

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ON the steps of Stormont Castle, the IRA's deputy commander in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday stood with the DUP leader and head of the police castigating the republican terrorists who murdered Constable Stephen Carroll.

In a ferocious denouncement of the murderers, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said that they were traitors to Ireland.

Presenting an unprecedented united front in the face of the multiple murders of recent days, the three men stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the early spring sunshine, each firmly promising, in their own words, that they would do everything in their power to see the slain constable's murderers in prison.

First Minister Peter Robinson spoke first: "This is a battle of wills between the political class and the evil gunmen – the political class will win.

"We are absolutely determined that these people will not direct us, will not frame our agenda, and will not cause us to retreat from the steps that we believe to be right to take this country forward, so we are moving forward.

"I am glad that every party in the Assembly is solidly in support of the Chief Constable, is solidly of the view that we should not turn back from that which we have put our hand to, that's the kind of unity that can defeat anybody."

And, with eyes most firmly trained on him, Martin McGuinness followed the DUP leader, using the strongest terms to decry what had happened in Craigavon.

"We are going to remain united in our approach and ultimately we will prevail," he said.

"These people are traitors to the island of Ireland, they have betrayed the political desires, hopes and aspirations of all of the people who live on this island. They don’t deserve to be supported by anyone.”

Under questioning from reporters, Mr McGuinness said that he had a responsibility to lead by example and, although saying he knew nothing of use to the police, the Mid-Ulster MP said that if he had information on the murders he would bring it to the PSNI.

“Let me be clear, if I call on the people, our people, to wholeheartedly weigh in behind the police service north and south in the apprehension of these people I have to make it clear that I too have a duty and a responsibility if I know where individuals who are responsible for these attacks are, to do as much as the public are expected to do.

“I am prepared to do my duty and to fulfil my responsibilities but I don’t know who was involved in the shooting at Antrim; I don’t know who was involved in the shooting last night.

“The responsibility for investigating that and establishing who was responsible, lies with the Chief Constable.”

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde vowed that his detectives would pursue the murderers “to the ends of the earth”, never resting until they were brought to justice.

“I reassure the whole community that we will not be found wanting,” he said.

“We have two major inquiries, fully-resourced, running at the minute and we will pursue those responsible for the murder of the two soldiers, the two young soldiers, and indeed my own officer last night to the ends of the earth.

“We do appeal for any assistance from anybody who has any information at all, however small, to step forward, be brave, and tell us what they know, because collectively I am clear we will solve these crimes.”