Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Less of the ego McGuinness and more solutions

After a good election result some years ago, Martin McGuinness said: "We don't believe that winning elections and winning any amount of votes will win freedom in Ireland. At the end of the day it will be the cutting edge of the IRA that will bring freedom."

We can all be thankful that Martin now believes the opposite, although he has never actually admitted that he got it wrong.

Nonetheless, his condemnation of today's violent tradition republicans as traitors is unambiguous and welcome.

It would go down much better, however, if Martin, while dismissing those who still believe what he believed for decades, was a little more humble about it.

His own merciless support for violence in the past, which he now disavows, allowed him to heap misery on the people of the north for decades. Does he not see any element of hypocrisy in his own words and deeds?

So, perhaps, instead of milking the plaudits and expecting praise for his displays of righteous indignation about people doing what he always did, he should focus more on solving the problem.

He needs to have his people work closely with the police on tackling those dissidents who are actual elements of his IRA.

And Sinn Fein needs to support intensified statutory efforts to reach disaffected young people.

Some of these young people are behaving as Martin did when he was young, but they are not all lost to dissident violence. Many are puzzled how Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein, as they see it, sold out on Irish republicanism, but they are not beyond reach.

RICHARD LEONARD

Derry

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