Northern Ireland news

John Alderdice believed Martin McGuinness 'an evil man'

Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness pictured in 1998. File picture by Pacemaker

ALLIANCE leader Dr John Alderdice considered Martin McGuinness an "evil man", according to a newly-released memo.

The memo, dated April 23, 1996, detailed a discussion between the British Ambassador to the Republic, Veronica Sutherland, and Dr Alderdice about his views on Sinn Féin’s leadership.

Ms Sutherland wrote: "Alderdice told me that he thought (Gerry) Adams had genuinely put violence behind him and wanted a settlement. He did not think this applied to Martin McGuinness whom he regarded as an evil man."

He added that the Belfast-born Sinn Féin delegate, Rita O’Hare had also put her past behind her and "had apologised to him in tears for Sinn Féin's failure to sign up to consent in the Dublin Forum".

The Alliance leader told the Ambassador that he believed that many Unionists, particularly senior UUP politician John Taylor, wanted compromise and a settlement soon. Despite difficulties, he thought a deal was possible.

Among other declassified files released today are:

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