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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020

My favourite speech: Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Continuing our summer series on of public figures’ favourite speeches, Martin McGuinness picks perhaps the most famous speech of all time.

Note: This feature was originally published on 14 July 2012 and has been republished to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Dr King’s famous address.

THE AUTHOR AND former presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan once said: “A speech is poetry: cadence, rhythm, imagery, sweep!  A speech reminds us that words, like children, have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart.”

One can not underestimate the power of a good speech or the effectiveness of a speech’s key line.

With that in mind, over the course of the summer is asking some of the most prominent figures in Irish society from politicians to sports stars to nominate their favourite speech of all time and tell us why they like it so much.

Today: The Sinn Féin MLA and North Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. He writes:

My favourite speech of all time is the world famous ‘I have a dream’ speech by Martin Luther King at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the height of the American Civil Rights movement in August 1963.

This speech is widely regarded as the defining moment of the civil rights movement.

Coming from Derry and a community that was also denied its basic civil rights, the movement in America and Martin Luther King in particular inspired many people in my community to stand up against the discrimination in my city and across the northern statelet.


This general view shows civil rights demonstrators gathered at the Washington Monument grounds before noon on 28 August 1963. The marchers will parade to the Lincoln Memorial, seen in the far background at right, where the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom will end with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. (AP Photo)

The full text of the speech can be found here. Watch the speech in full:


Read: Adi Roche also picked Dr King’s speech, here’s why

More: Education Minister Ruairí Quinn picked another Dr King speech

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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