‘Fair fa’ ya’ Martin McGuinness, in the words of British and Irish political leaders…

It will take a while to gather thoughts on the retirement of the estimable former deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness. Firstly, Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom:

He played a key role in moving the republican movement towards a position of using peaceful and democratic means. I want to send him best wishes for his retirement.

We will all continue to work to make sure that the people of Northern Ireland are able to live freely and in peace.

Then An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny:

I know that Martin remains firmly committed to delivering a peaceful and prosperous society for all of the people of Northern Ireland.

He was one of the key architects of the Good Friday Agreement, and a tireless and committed champion of the Peace Process.

I have appreciated working closely with Martin in recent years, including in particular in the work of the North South Ministerial Council.

First Minister, Arlene Foster:

While the current political situation is not what any of us would wish and there is much work to be done to return stable government to Northern Ireland I nonetheless value the good things achieved by the outgoing Executive and the contribution made by Mr McGuinness to it.

As Deputy First Minister for almost a decade Martin McGuinness has been a major figure at Stormont.  While never forgetting the past I believe the work at Stormont provided the foundations for our relative peace today.

Despite all that has happened I wish Martin McGuinness a speedy recovery and that he and his wife are able to enjoy time with their family away from the relentless focus of public life.”

Colum Eastwood, SDLP leader:

Martin’s long journey began with a commitment to violence but it is important and telling that he found his true calling in politics.

He was the longest serving Minister in our Executive and there is no doubting his commitment to the institutions that were established under the Good Friday Agreement.

Perhaps most significantly, Martin McGuinness developed the ability to reach out beyond his own base and in recent years has acted generously to reach out the hand of friendship and reconciliation. That ability was best displayed in his relationships with Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson.

It was a rare gift and came as much from his personality as it did from his politics. Sinn Féin will miss him.

Mike Nesbitt, UUP leader:

There is no escaping that he has been a major influence over the ten years since the DUP decided to work with Sinn Fein in Stormont Castle. His decision to take up arms in the IRA and terrorise the people of Northern Ireland has left a legacy we are still struggling to come to terms with.

That said he is clearly unwell and I wish for him and his family what I would wish for myself and mine.

Naomi Long, Alliance Party leader:

I recognise the degree to which he stretched himself and his constituency over recent years in order to move the political process forward. During that time he displayed significant moments of generosity, which were important in building relationships and securing the peace we enjoy.

 Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail leader:

…during our time as education ministers we had a very positive and active working relationship which was absolutely focused on delivering for all communities.  We also worked closely in the tortuous negotiations leading up to the devolution of Justice powers to Stormont.

We wish Martin McGuinness well and hope that those assuming leadership roles in Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland will learn from his example over the last ten years and renew the commitment to making these institutions work.

His positive comments when announcing his retirement this afternoon on the future of power sharing after this election confirm his political pragmatism.

Tonight, outside there are crowds of local people around his home in the Bogside in Derry who have shown up to thank him for his service. Whatever about his politics or his past he remains, amongst almost everyone who’s known him, even on a chance meeting, ‘well got’.

  • Megatron

    “Tonight, outside there are crowds of local people around his home in the Bogside in Derry who have shown up to thank him for his service. As well as a political leader. Whatever about his politics or his past he remains, amongst almost everyone who’s known him, even on a chance meeting, ‘well got’.”

    How about your own opinion? The lack of one being expressed speaks volumes but not about Martin.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Maybe he is reserving his opinion for a seperate OP. Don’t jump to conclusions.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Ian Paisley Junior has just stunned me with his kind words about Marty on the View. Bravo Bravo.

  • mickfealty

    I always liked him on the occasions we met. He was always warm and personable and took plain speaking in better heart than many others of his party. Even so, I have no illusions about the reality of his past.

    I will try to account fairly for the larger arc of his career later. It’s unreasonable to demand it now. His bridge-building should be recognised. Here’s what I wrote about him last week in the Indo (https://goo.gl/yjCCeK):

    Not only does his hasty departure leave a leadership vacuum within the party, it also leaves them very short of anyone with McGuinness’ experience and ability to reach out and be genuinely liked by his opponents within unionism, even within the DUP.

    Tús maith, leath na hoibre.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Deir sé Tá fáilte romhat 😉

  • articles

    Ian junior is capable of great charm and great offence. He is hugely talented but possessed of an unstable temperament, give me the honest journeyman every time.

  • mickfealty

    No comment on the foregoing, but there is little doubt that it was entirely ‘what was required’.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Well I take the bread as I find it, and he went above and beyond on the view tonight. We all have a cranky side.

  • Madra Uisce

    Stunned me as well Mick but given Martin McGuinness close relationship with Ian Og father perhaps he is aware of personal family interaction with Martin during the big mans illness and last days that may be colouring his view. That aside I also detected a major shot across Arlenes bows

  • articles

    Who benefited from what he said? And to whose detriment?

  • mickfealty

    Indeed.

  • mickfealty

    There’s a bit more calculation in it than that, surely?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Tony Soprano?

  • Madra Uisce

    No doubt Mick. Ian Og knows Arlene is a dead duck.

  • JOHN TURLEY

    I wonder will Arlene even at this stage get the messege of what she]
    threw away. She could have taken a joint step.but just had not the
    character.to move forward.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Arlene is on her way out. She wasted a fantastic opportunity to reform the DUP. Hopefully Simon Hamilton or some such Duper will have more sense.

  • mickfealty

    DUP’s secret weapon is that everyone who doesn’t vote for them hates them. And, because they do, underestimates them.

    Why are we talking about themuns?

  • ted hagan

    Pretty unimpressive from Nesbitt.

  • AntrimGael

    Take down the statue of Carson outside Stormont and replace it with Martin. He is a statesman of Collins, Mandela and Gandhi proportions. His legacy of fighting against colonial oppression and British/Unionist anarchy, terrorism and murder will be remembered down through the ages. Take care comrade!

  • file

    yes indeed. Maybe he was just giving his honest reaction to McGuinness retiring and not playing power games – no matter how much Carruthers and his lovely hair wanted him to be.

  • Backbencher

    It terms of his health I wish him God’s grace as I would anyone that is ill or in distress. With regards his career, his latter years of political involvement have been debased by the fact that he never acknowledged that his terrorist campaign of earlier years was wrong.

  • Backbencher

    Maybe you should have a chat to some of the thousands of innocent victims (both unionist and nationalist) of the IRA campaign.

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    Steady on there!

  • AntrimGael

    An Irishman in his own country taking up arms in the struggle against colonial oppression, murder and terrorism can NEVER be guilty of anything but conscience and an inner morality.

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    Agree: even Arlene was slightly more gracious!

  • AntrimGael

    Indeed, Mike TV ALWAYS resorts to type. Watch the Unionist electoral pact now take centre stage.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    I am not sure singing the praises of Marty is likely to be the best way to win friends within Unionism as it is currently formatted. I think Ian Og was genuine enough.

  • Mac an Aistrigh

    Yes: quite amazing!

    Or is this a bid of some sort?

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Maybe have a chat with older Nationalists and Catholics who had to endure the torture and hardship of living under a violent Unionist supremicist regime until Martin and his Kin came along and stuffed the backside of Unionist fascism with a generous dose fire power.

  • Backbencher

    colonial oppression – If you mean by that British sovereignty, Martin didn’t seem to have a problem in latter years.

    Given the number of fellow Irishmen killed and maimed by the IRA your point carries little weight.

  • Backbencher

    Obviously an apologist for terrorism. Heaven help us if you ever have any power.

  • AntrimGael

    Britain NEVER had ‘sovereignty’ on this island. They stole our lands, murdered our people, tried to extinguish our language and religion, starved millions and for centuries acted against the wishes of the Irish people. DONT give me sovereignty nonsense.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    I have no interest in power.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    The statue of Carson should never be removed. In future years it will either stand as a symbol of unionism alongside a similar loved figure from nationalism, OR it will stand alone surrounded by overgrowth behind locked gates in front of a ruin. Either way it should never be touched.

  • Madra Uisce

    Nesbitt is a clown of a leader nd the reason why the DUP will still wipe the floor with the UUP despite RHI

  • Anthony O’Shea

    You could be talking about the Shinners there.

  • AntrimGael

    There is NO such thing as Irish terrorism. People in their own land fighting against murderous, colonial supremacists can NEVER be accused of terrorism.

  • AntrimGael

    NO Anthony, Carson was THE main instigator of the anti Catholic pogroms of the early 20’s and his speeches were the driving force behind these murderous campaigns. Carson is up there with the Shankill Butchers and Glennane gang, be under NO illusions.

  • AntrimGael

    I don’t wish to sound alarmist but I firmly believe that between the collapse of Stormont and Brexit we are on a collision course taking us back towards conflict. In such a scenario I would also say that the Nationalist/Republican community should look at recommissioning of arms and not decommissioning because Unionism/Loyalism holds 1000’s of guns and 10s of 1000’s of bullets.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Read my reply to your earlier post carefully, i think u are missing my meaning

  • AntrimGael

    Fair enough mate. He was a scumbag all the same. He activally encouraged the pogroms against the Catholic community in Belfast between 1921 and 1923 which resulted in the death of 500 people.

  • mickfealty

    Goodness AG, what were you on last night?

  • aquifer

    “I don’t wish to sound alarmist”? Honestly?

    How high would you like us to jump?

    Bored with armed blackmail, a sure sign of no idea worth a damn.

  • JOHN TURLEY

    I agree completely, Its possible that Arlene has taken the first steps to see the briars growing round it.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I didn’t think he was smart enough, but I’m starting to revise my view of IPJ. Either genuine or a calculated genius….either way a damn sight better than “Arlene the sneer”.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    He blows hot and cold, but his comment about McGuinness lacked any style whatsoever.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Were Allied Carpets murderous colonial supremacists then? Who’d have thunk it…?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Antrim Gael
    In all sincerity could you take a notepad and listen to Seaan Ui Neill on this site?
    He has an in depth understanding of Irish history and can piece the nuances together, your tirades are poor man’s imitations of a Braveheart speech out-take.

  • file

    Careful Now! Down with this sort of thing!

  • file

    Carson was completely opposed to partition, you know, and self-described as an Irish unionist.

  • file

    Nah, don’t think so. The Troubles were fun like, but it is too early to bring them back. Although they would be good for the construction trade and the economy in general. Anyway this peace lark has a lot going for it; we should give it a try for a while.

  • AntrimGael

    I hold my hands up. I had a few gargles with a few mates, first since Christmas though.

  • Cináed mac Artri

    “…stuffed the backside of Unionist fascism with a generous dose (of) fire power.”

    ‘Joanne Mathers was just 29 years-old when on April 7, 1981, an IRA gunman shot her dead on the doorstep of a house in Gobnascale, Derry.’ The young mother was a collecting census forms at the time she was murdered.

    There is just one example of where the so-called “Derry Brigade” of the IRA’s “generous dose (of) fire power” was targeted.

  • AntrimGael

    I withdraw that, violence in 2017 or in the future, will take us nowhere.

  • AntrimGael

    Violence now or in the future will take us nowhere, I withdraw that.

  • AntrimGael

    I hold my hands up, that was a silly thing I said. I don’t advocate or support violence against anyone. Our problems can ONLY be sorted out through dialogue and negotiations.

  • AntrimGael

    But the music was good.

  • ted hagan

    I remember the whistleblower speaking on the Nolan Show and afterwards Nesbitt solemnly announcing he would be recommending her for a Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    And whatabout blah blah blah ….

  • Cináed mac Artri

    Well of course your discomfort is understandable when the reality of your callous hubris, “stuffed the backside of Unionist fascism with a generous dose (of) fire power”, is brought to your attention.

    Dismissing victims as a mere “whatabout” is an obvious necessity in order to maintain the romantic fiction that defines those who swill about in the green miasma of murderous nationalism.

    I’ll leave you to weep over the “great man”.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    Blah

  • lizmcneill

    But the locals walk their dogs etc in the grounds of Stormont. Why take away their park? 😉

  • mickfealty

    I think the case for armed insurrection as a means of ending partition has been well tested and found severely wanting. 🙂 Lent’s coming soon?? 😉

  • grumpy oul man

    Blah my ass.
    I understand the contribution that unionists made to the birth of the provos (unfortunately many unionists are blind to this deliberately i think) but to claim that the innocent people killed by bombs or in crossfire are not worth mentioning (blah) is just wrong, even if unionists are completely in denial about the violence from thier side of the fence and chose not to see the link between their polticians and the murder squads it doesnt make the actions of the IRA excusable.

  • Katyusha

    I thought we’d put the gates around Carson (protect him from vandalism, etc.)?

    http://static.neatorama.com/images/2006-07/william-wallace-braveheart-statue-caged.jpg

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Carson was using the UUC as a tool to make Home Rule unworkable, and the momentium of its campaign ran away with him. But an important influence over his original support for the northern Unionists was his rage at being beaten in the leadership contest for IUA by the Earl of Midleton following Walter Long’s step down from the in the leadership. Carson beleived the post to be naturally his, and threw in his lot with the northern industrialists in a fit of pique.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Carson’s speech to the LOI in Belfast, July 1920 clearly instigated the violent ejection of Catholic workers from employment across the city. In the first big ejection at Harland and Wolff’s over five thousand Catholic workers were driven out, around 1200 of them ex-service men from the Great war. Carson’s role in this was reported across the English press.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A proposal of marriage…..?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Anthony, she was always as a person far, far too lightweight for the post, and her selection was a mark of the ingrained misogyny of the “male, stale and pale” dominant narrative of the DUP.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As Shane Lesley has Frank Bigger say in his novel “Doomsland” (in the Béarla, alas), “Go raibh rath is bláth ar an obair”.