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When heaping praise on McGuinness's political efforts, we should remember his murderous past

letter of the day: balanced reflection

While the immense contribution of Martin McGuinness to the primacy of political action over paramilitary action must be acknowledged, I do not think he was entirely worthy of the present beatification process.

He was consistent in refusing to make any apology for his past actions and expressed pride in his role as an IRA leader.

During his time directing military operations, numerous atrocities that could only be described as war crimes were carried out.

Businessmen, whose only offence was bringing employment to Londonderry, were designated as 'commercial targets' and shot. An innocent man was killed purely as bait for a bomb attack on police investigating his death.

Men were chained to booby-trapped car bombs for 'collaborating' with the Army or police. A young mother was shot for the 'crime' of collecting census returns. Ask the Hegarty family if they consider Mr McGuinness a man of integrity whose word can be trusted.

These particular infamous operations were in addition to the hundreds of 'ordinary' assassinations carried out by men under his control.

The traditional defence of many war criminals - 'I was only obeying orders' - is not available to him, as he was the one giving the orders.

It is difficult to decide at what point his efforts in the cause of peace atone for his past actions, as in his case a lot of atonement was required.


Ballymena, Co Antrim

Belfast Telegraph


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