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McGuinness played major role in peace process and despite his resignation this should not be forgotten

letter of the day: pivotal politician

The journey that Northern Ireland has taken in the past 20 years is nothing less than remarkable. The people and the politicians of the Stormont institutions should be very proud.

The relationship that Sinn Fein and the DUP have built on since 2004 is surely not perfect, but over the years, there has been a willingness to create a formal relationship that has been built on the principle of integrity and respect.

The iconic representation of this was the unlikely friendship dubbed the 'Chuckle Brothers' that was formed between Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley to create the power-sharing government that has seen 10 years of continuous government.

That said, it did come as a surprise when Deputy First Minister McGuinness resigned and collapsed the Executive.

Regardless of his health issues, did he really have any other choice?

While his resignation has garnered mixed reactions among politicians, political commentators and historians alike, no one can deny the pivotal role that McGuinness had in brokering the peace agreement in Northern Ireland and also, until recently, ensuring that Stormont remained fit for purpose.

While McGuinness might be remembered for a lot of things, I think revisionist historians will treat him kindly in the grand scheme of the peace process.

Historians like Ruth Dudley Edwards have always failed to understand that, without the co-operation of paramilitary leaders such as McGuinness and David Ervine, that the peace across the island may not have been achieved to the extent it has.

JOHN NESBITT

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