Belfast Telegraph

'We have to move on'... what they're saying in his home city

By Donna Deeney

As news of Martin McGuinness’s departure from politics filtered onto the streets of his native Londonderry, the consensus was it was the right time for him to step aside.

Ellen Caskey said she grew up with Mr McGuinness in politics.

“He has always been there, but I think new people will bring new ideas,” she said.

“I grew up through the Troubles and I have lost family in the Troubles. I have a daughter and hopefully I will have grandchildren. I want peace and I think that it is time the gun was taken out of politics.

“He did represent the gun, he was in the IRA, and for my generation that is probably what the attraction was, and for a lot of people he was a hero.”

Laurence McDaid thought Mr McGuinness’s decision to leave now was part of a bigger plan by Sinn Fein.

He said: “I think they are looking ahead to the election and thinking that a new generation of candidates might increase their vote and therefore their power within Stormont.

“I know he is genuinely ill, but Sinn Fein in general as a party will have a plan and it sounds to me like a gambit.”

Daniel Donaghy thought more politicians of a similar age to Mr McGuinness should step down too.

He said: “What we have in government is a group of older guys who think that their way from way back then is good — but it isn’t.

“We need change, this will make Northern Ireland more open to everyone else.

“People think it is this way and it always going to be this way, but with new politicians coming through that would change.”

Across the River Foyle in the  mainly unionist Waterside, Cynthia Beard said the violence that Mr McGuinness and others in government are associated with had to be “left behind”.

“We have to draw a line and we have to move on,” she said.

“The peace process was fantastic, we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t started and Martin McGuinness was part of that.”

Ivor Graham has been so disillusioned by politics that he hasn’t voted for years.

“He isn’t fit to stand any more so for that reason I suppose he had to stand down,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter to me as a whole, but whatever he did in the past he did get the peace process up and running.

“He has made moves, with Paisley and whatever. He has done a great deal, it is just unfortunate that it has come to this point with Arlene Foster that he has had to stand down.”

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