Gerry Adams at Martin McGuinness’s graveside: “Respect our unionist neighbors. Reach out to them”

Posted By: March 23, 2017

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has delivered a graveside oration

 for Martin McGuinness, following the former Deputy First 
Minister’s funeral today.

Irish News. Belfast. Thursday, March 23, 2017

Here is the full text of Mr. Adams’ speech:

“This week, Ireland lost a hero. Derry lost a son.

“Sinn Féin lost a leader, and I lost a dear friend and a comrade, but Martin’s family has suffered the biggest loss of all.

“They have lost a loving, caring, dedicated husband, father and grandfather, a brother and an uncle.

“On behalf of Sinn Féin, on my own behalf and Colette and our family, and for

you all, I extend our solidarity to all the McGuinness family.

“I never thought I would be giving this oration today. Martin was looking forward so much to stepping back in May from public office. That wasn’t to be, but his was a life well-lived.”

The Louth TD said that Martin McGuinness was the epitome of all that is good in Republican ideology.

“He exemplified all that is decent and fair about our republican ideology and our core values of freedom, equality, and solidarity.

“It is now over to us to take the struggle from where he has left it. Like Bobby Sands, he believed that our revenge should be the laughter of our children.

“By his example, he showed us that it is possible to build peace out of conflict; to build a better and more equal future based on fairness, and to build unity out of the division.

“Martin will continue to inspire and encourage us in the time ahead. Martin believed that a better Ireland, a genuinely new Ireland is possible.

“He rejected any suggestion that gender or race or class or skin color or disability or sexual orientation or religion should exclude citizens from their full rights and entitlements.

“That is a legacy we must build upon.

“Of course, while much progress has been made, not least in the numerous lives saved in the last 20 years, Irish Republicans know that a long, long road, with many twists and turns, still lies ahead.”

Gerry Adams said that rights were at the heart of the struggle of for Irish freedom.

“It’s all about rights; Civil rights, human rights, religious rights, language rights, LGBT rights, social and economic rights, rights for women, national rights, the right to freedom.

“So, here at the graveside of this good man, let me appeal to our unionist neighbors.

“Let us learn to like each other, to be friends, to celebrate and enjoy our differences and to do so on the basis of common sense, respect and tolerance for each other and everyone else as equals.

“Let me appeal also to nationalists and republicans; do nothing to disrespect

our unionist neighbors or anyone else.

“Stand against bigotry. Stand against sectarianism. Respect our unionist neighbors. Reach out to them.

“Lead, as Martin led, by example.”