SINN Fein veteran Martin McGuinness has been nominated for a peace prize.
But loyalists have criticised the nomination saying it was like rewarding the IRA for all its atrocities.
The former deputy first minister, who stepped down from front line politics last month due to ill-health, is on the short list for the 2016 Tipperary International Peace Award.
McGuinness, a former IRA commander, spent almost 10 years at the helm of the Assembly first with the late Ian Paisley and then DUP leaders Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster.
He stood down amid the “cash for ash” scandal of the Renewable Heat Incentive which paid over-the-top subsidies for those who put in special boilers.
The former Sinn Fein chief negotiator joins five other contenders for the award including human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who has represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, former Ukrainian premier Yulia Tymoshenko and Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
But TUV East Derry candidate Jordan Armstrong hit out at the nomination of the ex-Mid Ulster MLA.
He said: “The people behind this award need to seriously reconsider. Martin McGuinness was, by his own admission, an IRA commander.
“The IRA was the most bloodthirsty terrorist organisation in Western Europe.
“What the Tipperary Peace Award Committee are really saying is you can be involved in a terrorist organisation and be recognised for a contribution towards peace without expressing one scintilla of remorse or regret.”
The Tipperary Peace Convention will announce the winner in the coming weeks.
Based at Doughty Street Chambers in London, Ms Clooney has been part of several UN commissions and tribunals. She is married to actor George Clooney.
The other nominees include Kenyan-based Irish priest Fr Patrick Devine who has worked in Africa for 25 years to mitigate conflict and poverty.
Lady Rabab al Sadr, a Lebanese activist and philanthropist who worked with the Imam al-Sadr Foundation to help orphaned and dependent girls, is also in the running.
Two organisations were short-listed – Amnesty International (Ireland) and the Syrian White Helmets, a volunteer group that rescues people in the Syrian civil war and is said to have saved more than 78,000 lives.
Previous recipients include Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot by the Taliban on her way to school, former UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon, former Irish president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin, and Bob Geldof.Tags: