Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness 'died an unrepentant terrorist and is undeserving of the inevitable eulogies'

By Rebecca Black

A woman who lost her mother in the Poppy Day bombing has said the victims of the IRA are the true heroes, not Martin McGuinness.

Aileen Quinton, daughter of Enniskillen victim Alberta Quinton (72), says unless Mr McGuinness repented on his deathbed, he died an unrepentant terrorist, and does not deserve the eulogies he is receiving.

Mr McGuinness died in the early hours of Tuesday following a short illness.

Amid the tributes to the former Deputy First Minister, Ms Quinton said her immediate thoughts upon hearing he had died was for her mother and other victims of the IRA. She said: "I was also bracing myself for the inevitable eulogies as if he wasn't somebody who wasn't responsible for mass slaughter, and who - while we don't know what happened on his deathbed in terms of any repentance - but as far as is out in the public sphere, he died an unrepentant terrorist and continued to justify what the IRA did.

"I think his decision (to move into politics) was a tactical one, not a moral one.

"I don't believe he ever decommissioned his mindset which told him he was justified in murdering people and I think that is an appalling thing, and it is appalling that his lack of remorse has been accepted, and has been kind of pushed under the table.

"It's really terrible that an unrepentant terrorist is being eulogised in this way. It's not just something he did in the past, it is that continuing refusal to condemn terrorism that people should be concerned about."

She continued: "My mum was 72 when she died, but she looked much, much younger.

"She was in the RAF during the war and the contrast between the service she gave about helping and making people's deaths as dignified and easy as possible stands in such stark contrast to Martin McGuinness and his cohorts in the IRA."

Ms Quinton was living in London on the day of the bomb, and had been crocheting her mother a tablecloth as a present when she heard about the atrocity via a newsflash. "On the day, my mother was getting ready to go out and pay her respects to those she served with, and her main worry that morning was making sure she had her medals on the right side - to show that she earned them herself and wasn't just wearing them for somebody else," she added.

"I know Remembrance Sunday was important to her as they didn't have time to remember when they were in the midst of it.

"The first I heard was a newsflash that a bomb had been put at the war memorial and then it came out that she was one of the 11 who had died with another later who was in a coma dying later, and many, many injured. "I tried to ring home but the Enniskillen exchange was completely blocked out. I eventually got through to an uncle and he broke down and said 'Aileen I'm sorry', so I just knew from that, it was a no hope comment that she had gone."

She added: "My mother was a Protestant but her nursing was for all.

"I remember the local Roman Catholic priest at the time of the bomb and his first words were 'ah Aileen, people are talking about her with such affection'.

"So many of his Roman Catholic flock were so upset about the murder of their neighbours supposedly in their name.

"I can hear my mother's laugh ringing in my ears at the notion that such a prosaic moment was remembered so fondly."

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