McGuinness: N.I. needs more attention

June 29, 2012 at 2:15 AM
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LONDON, June 29 (UPI) -- A day after his handshake with Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness criticized the British government in a London speech.

Speaking at Portcullis House, part of the Houses of Parliament, McGuinness, Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, said Prime Minister David Cameron appears uninterested in Northern Ireland, The Irish Times reported. He said he and First Minister Peter Robinson have met U.S. President Barack Obama more often than they have met Cameron.

"This lack of engagement by David Cameron is a serious mistake and may provide a rationale for some of the damaging decisions made by Owen Paterson during his tenure at the Northern Ireland Office," McGuinness said.

McGuinness said the government has made "wrong and unhelpful decisions." He cited the re-imprisonment of Marian Price, who had been released on parole after serving a sentence for a bombing at the Old Bailey, and the decision not to investigate the 1971 killing of 10 people by soldiers in Ballymurphy.

Cameron's office released a statement saying Northern Ireland no longer needs the attention it received in crisis times: "Mercifully, thanks to the efforts of a large number of people -- including Sinn Fein -- NI enjoys political stability, and we are able to move beyond the politics of the peace process."

McGuinness met the queen Wednesday at a Belfast reception and the two shook hands twice, once in public and once in private.

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