Martin McGuinness ‘proud’ of his IRA past

Martin McGuinness.

Martin McGuinness.

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Martin McGuinness says he remains proud of his IRA past.

The North’s Deputy First Minister made the remark during a TV interview broadcast at the weekend.

Journalist, Eamonn Mallie, repeatedly pressed the Derry republican about his actions during and after his time as an IRA commander in Derry in the early 1970s.

During the discussion, Mr. McGuinness refused to say how many people he may have allegedly killed while a senior member of the organisation.

Asked how he felt when “you shot your first soldier or police officer,” Mr. McGuinness replied: “I never talk about shooting anybody. But I do acknowledge that I was a member of the IRA and, as a member of the IRA, I, obviously, engaged in fighting back against the British Army.”

“You mean killing, Martin, don’t you?”, Mr. Mallie asks him in the interview which was televised on the ‘Irish TV’ satellite channel.

“What I am not going to do is give people a sensational headline by saying that, on such and such a night, I was involved in a gun battle with the British Army and 25 British soldiers were killed,” responds Mr. McGuinness.

“I am not into that, I am not going to get into that,” he adds.

Mallie then asks him: “Do you ever talk to yourself, though, about the things you did, the actual shooting of the people you saw as the enemy; do you ever talk to yourself inside your head about that?”

Mr. McGuinness replies: “Obviously, everybody is accountable for their own actions and everybody has to make judgements based on their own conscience as to whether or not they believe what they were doing is right or wrong.

“I believe that, in a situation where the community that I came from was being treated like second and third class citizens, I had a responsibility to fight back against it. And I don’t apologise to anybody for having done that. I think it was the right thing to do.

“The difficulty is that we, effectively, ended up in what was a vicious cycle of conflict in which an awful lot of people got hurt and an an awful lot of people got killed. British soldiers, innocent civilians and defenceless prisoners.”

Mr. McGuinness also talks of his pride at being a member of the IRA.

“I am still, 40 years on, proud that I was a member of the IRA. I am not going to be a hypocrite and sit here and say something different,” added the Derry republican.