Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness is to have face-to-face talks with victims of IRA violence, it was confirmed today.
The Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister and self confessed former IRA leader, has agreed to meet a small delegation of bereaved relatives from the victims group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives.
The meeting, expected within the next fortnight, follows a request from FAIR.
The organisation director, William Frazer, said there would be those from the Protestant community, including families of murdered RUC, Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Irish regiment soldiers who would be uncomfortable about the meeting.
But he said: “I would like to assure them we will not be forgetting them or their sacrifice when we go into this meeting.”
He said of Mr McGuinness: “He will have some difficult questions to answer, but answer them he will have to.
“If he wants to put out the image that he has changed then he will have to convince the victims that he has changed.
“We take no pleasure in going to this meeting, but if it moves things forward we will give him the opportunity to prove to us that he has changed.”
He said he wanted to hear from Mr McGuinness that the republican belief that violence was a legitimate tool to achieve change was gone for good and would not be resurrected if they did not get their way through political means.
“That is the key issue for people who have seen their loved ones slaughtered by the IRA,” said Mr Frazer.