Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness death: Tebbit says 'world sweeter place' - TUV chief says 'he took dark secrets to grave'

Lord Tebbit, whose wife was paralysed in the 1984 IRA Brighton bomb has said the "world is a sweeter place" now that Martin McGuinness has died.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Lord Tebbit branded the veteran republican a "coward who never atoned for his crimes".

The IRA targeted the Conservative party conference at the Grand Hotel in Brighton planting explosives in walls. The subsequent blast killed five people.

Norman Tebbit was in bed when the bomb went off, along with Lady Margaret Tebbit, who remains severely paralysed.

"He was a coward who knew that the IRA was defeated... the IRA army council had been penetrated by British intelligence and they were beaten," he said.

"And he, coward as always, opted to try and get out of that by posing as a man of peace.

"He was a murderer, a multi-murderer. He became a man of peace because he was desperately afraid he was going to be arrested and charged with murders which he had committed himself.

"I’m just pleased that the world is a sweeter and cleaner place now," he said.

He was asked if it could be possible someone like Mr McGuinness could leave his past behind.

“It might be possible, But first thing to take the step to for forgiveness would be to confess for his sins," he added.

Jo Berry, whose father the MP Anthony Berry was killed in the 1984 bomb is founder of charity Building Bridges for Peace. In response to Lord Tebbit, she tweeted: "Tebbit not speaking for all, I value Martin McGuinness as inspiring example of peace and reconciliation.

"I lost my Dad in Brighton Bomb."

Speaking on the BBC she added: "I admire Martin McGuinness for what he has done for peace in Northern Ireland. His friendship with Ian Paisley was real and in order to do that I think he showed incredible courage and his example of reconciliation influences everyone - he showed the way forward."

TUV leader Jim Allister paid his condolences to the McGuinness family.

He said: "In the case of Martin McGuinness he lived many more decades than his victims because sadly he thought it appropriate not just to sanction, but to commit murder.

"And he took those dark secrets to the grave denying truth and justice to his many IRA victims.

"So today my primary thoughts are with the many victims of the IRA who never got to the age of 66, who never saw their grandchildren because McGuinness's IRA snuffed out so many lives.

"Whatever became of Martin McGuinness, he chose to be a terrorist, no one made him be a terrorist and no one should be lauded because they turned to peace having been a terrorist."

He added: "I will not be a party to white-washing the vile, vicious, wicked terrorism he brought to our streets.

"I then acknowledge that as a different phase, he was part of protecting those that brought that vile terrorism to our streets. He then tried a different tactic, namely that of what is called the the peace process and at a great price.

"I acknowledge that with his head he chose a path of peace, if it was with his heart would he not have given up those secrets and brought truth and justice to the victims of the IRA? That is where he will be judged.

"I have nothing kind to say of a person who carried out, presided over and directed the terrorism of the IRA, that gave us over 2,000 innocent victims.

"They brought needless terror to our streets. There was no need for anyone to die on the streets of Northern Ireland, but Martin McGuinness thought there should be."

"So I am not going to be a hypocrite and sweep that under the carpet and say he took a different tact.

"I am not going to white wash the life of terrorist leader, IRA commander Martin McGuinness."

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