Redoubling efforts for peace a ‘fitting legacy’ – Archbishop Eamon Martin

Redoubling efforts for peace a ‘fitting legacy’ – Archbishop Eamon Martin FILE PHOTO: Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness smiles during a news conference announcing Michelle O'Neill as his replacement for the upcoming elections, in Belfast, Northern Ireland January 23, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

A fitting legacy for Martin McGuinness would be a redoubling of efforts on all sides to find solutions to “our current problems” according to the Primate of All Ireland. Archbishop Eamon Martin paid tribute to Mr McGuinness as “someone who chose personally to leave behind the path of violence and to walk instead along the more challenging path of peace and reconciliation”.

“As a leader he was courageous and took risks in order to bring others with him, convincing them that goals could be achieved by politics and persuasion,” the Archbishop of Armagh said. “He channelled his many gifts into creating and sustaining the peace process of which he was one of the key architects. I have no doubt that Martin’s faith and relationship with God guided him along this journey.”

The archbishop said Mr McGuinness was “a man of prayer” and he was personally grateful “for his good wishes and encouragement to me, as a fellow Derry man, in my own vocation”.

“The story of conflict in Ireland has brought much pain and trauma and I thank God that in recent years we have preferred peace to the horror of violence and war,” he said. “People like Martin McGuinness have made an immense contribution to sustaining peace by reaching out a hand of friendship and reconciliation and being prepared to model alternatives to dispute and division.”

The primate spoke of Mr McGuinness’ personal warmth and open, friendly personality which was able to “melt away suspicion and help build trust with those coming from very different perspectives”.

“Being grounded in love for his family, community and native city of Derry, he understood the importance of a peaceful, just and prosperous future for all. Martin was ambitious for peace. He knew that peace was worth striving for and was within reach in his life time,” Archbishop Eamon said.