I understand what drive men of the 60's and 70's to join the IRA but I can't countenance some of their actions once they had joined it. Had they stuck to strictly military or strategic targets most of that would have been defensible but most of the time innocents were targeted. What did the deaths of Nicholas Knatchbull or Paul Maxwell have to do with republicanism or Irish independence? Posters regularly round on Fearon when he defends how the church abused and caused the deaths of hundreds of children but yet can find room to defend the IRA who were complicit in the deaths of many innocent women and children. Many here have recounted stories about the troubles but no amount of harassment at UDR checkpoints or guns being waved in your face is worth the lives of innocent children.
Leaving that aside, I had great time for Martin McGuinness. Too much has been made of his chuckle brother routine with Paisley and using Paisley as a counter-point. His nearest equivalent would have been David Ervine who was also also a paramilitary turned politician and also a man whom held my respect. To their credit both seen the futility of the bloodshed and had a humility in the post-troubles years that to me dictated a sense of remorse for the years of slaughter. That humility I find lacking in Adams, Robinson, Foster and to a certain extent Paisley who all appear/appeared to think that the peace process was their accomplishment as opposed to how they should feel; that the troubles was their fault.
It was a pretty desperate campaign really. I don't know how the people who killed Patsy Gillespie for example can sleep at night. My pal's dad was shot dead in front of him because he supplied the british army with construction materials. His lack of bitterness amazes me, I'd never get over it. This was in the early nineties and it just seems like a desperate waste of life.
I guess I'm republican - or staunchly nationalist anyway - but I find it very hard to justify and I'd be skeptical enough about Adams and McGuinness' intentions throughout it all. It's something I grapple with anyway.
Only for unionist intransigence, blatant discrimination and british arrogance the whole thing would have been avoided though.