Belfast Telegraph

Troubles victims who will not forgive ill Martin McGuinness for suffering IRA inflicted

By Leona O'Neill and Rebecca Black

Victims of two of the most shocking atrocities of the Troubles have called on former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to explain why the IRA inflicted so much suf fering on Northern Ireland.

Their calls come after Mr McGuinness revealed he was standing down from politics due to ill-health.

During the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday he admitted he had been the IRA's second in command in Londonderry.

Mary Hamilton (75), who was injured in the 1972 Claudy bombing, and Michelle Williamson, who lost her parents in the 1993 Shankill bombing, have issued him with a challenge.

Mrs Hamilton lives daily with the injuries she suffered in the attack. She suffered a double blow, for as she lay recovering from horrific leg injuries from the bomb, her brother-in-law was shot dead by the IRA.

"I was very badly injured in the bomb," said Mrs Hamilton. "And I suffer to this day with my injuries. I have shrapnel in both my legs. I take painkillers daily. I have had to have four operations. I suffer. I need no reminder of the Claudy bomb, I live with it every single day.

"I have physical and mental reminders of that day. I am haunted by what I saw. I saw people with their heads taken off, people's insides hanging out, body parts stuck on the fence beside me, people.

"Forty-five years later I still cry every time I speak on it. It was horrific. We carry it with us every day, we never forget. We will never get over it."

Mrs Hamilton said she would like Mr McGuinness, as he bows out of public life, to explain why such pain was inflicted.

Last week, the DUP's Ian Paisley paid a heartfelt tribute to Mr McGuinness

Speaking on the BBC's The View, the MP for North Antrim said he wished Martin McGuinness well in his retirement and thanked him for his efforts in rebuilding the country.

But Mrs Hamilton said she cannot agree with the tributes.

"He is being hailed now as a great champion of peace. I can't agree with that, because if he was truly a peacemaker he would have went over all the things he was involved in, talk to the people who have lost loved ones and told them why he did it. He is hailed as a great person now, but he has left a lot of broken hearts behind," she said.

"There are lot of secrets Martin McGuinness will take to his grave. Maybe he thought that he was justified because of his cause or politics. But nothing justifies taking a life. It is a hard thing to say, but I will never, ever forgive him.

"He is ill. I feel sympathy for anyone who is ill. But I just wonder now does he stop and think how we and others have suffered all our lives."

Ms Williamson added: "The pain and the suffering this man has inflicted on so many will take generations to heal, but his place in history will fade with time."

She too criticised those paying tribute to McGuinness. "Our politicians are falling over each other to wish him well, have they forgotten already who he is and what he has done? It's pathetic," she said.

Belfast Telegraph


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