Remembering Martin McGuinness

 

Sir, – I was disappointed in President Michael D Higgins’s statement on Martin McGuinness. In a long statement, the President emphasised the recent peacemaking role of Mr McGuinness without making any reference whatsoever to the earlier IRA career of Mr McGuinness. This glossing over of real issues and events from the life of Mr McGuinness was a rose-tinted perspective that would have greatly irritated those on the opposite side of the Northern Ireland political divide. – Yours, etc,

AOIFE LORD,

Tankardstown,

Co Meath.

Sir, – I would have thought that Martin McGuinness’s greatest achievement as a diehard republican was to make Ian Paisley laugh. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN CULLEN,

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.

Sir, – I suggest that the best and worst that can be said of the late Martin McGuinness is that he would have made a great Christian Brother.– Yours, etc,

JIM O’RIORDAN,

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Had I lived up North, I like to think that I’d have followed the path of Fitt, Hume, Devlin, Mallon and Currie.

Had I taken the “Sunningdale for slow learners” route, I like to think that I’d have subsequently acknowledged my militaristic endeavours in an open and honest manner.

I like to think that I would then have made a contribution to making this island a better place even if that contribution were minuscule in comparison to that of Martin McGuinness. – Yours, etc,

PAUL REARDON,

Dublin 9.

Sir, – The death of Martin McGuinness will evoke great sadness, much upset and rekindled anger and a vortex of opposing feelings in people and communities across our island.

These emotions will be felt by people whose traditions, mindset and experience of life here are poles apart, but critically not as far apart as they once were or might now be because of the “life journey” he took within himself. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL GANNON,

Kilkenny.

A chara, – Your editorial (22March 22nd) acknowledges the positive role Martin McGuinness played in helping to bring about peace, and adds: “But his earlier years as one of the leaders of the Provisional IRA campaign of violence should not be glossed over.”

That is true. It is equally important, however, that we do not gloss over what it was that led to the campaign of violence. The experience of the discrimination and injustices endemic in unionist-dominated Northern Ireland, the violent reaction to demonstrations for civil rights, a constabulary less than even-handed, British military actions, and the shock of Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 (denied afterwards for so long), must not be glossed over.

Many, like John Hume, consciously chose peaceful action. Many others, like Martin McGuinness, seemingly knew only desperation, and desperation leads to desperate means, however atrocious. Migrants crossing the Mediterranean are just one other example of such desperation.

This is not to excuse the atrocities. WB Yeats wrote, “Too long a sacrifice/Can make a stone of the heart”. Truth and reconciliation can only come when those responsible for the years of injustice, or their successors, acknowledge honestly their part in what led to the desperation, the hearts of stone. Has any unionist politician done this? This is not an attempt to humiliate anyone, but to recognise the full truth, so that we can learn and understand. The heart of stone can become a heart of flesh. – Is mise,

PÁDRAIG McCARTHY,

Sandyford, Dublin 16.

Sir, – He left his native city and country a more tolerant place than the one he inherited. We are all the poorer at his untimely passing. – Yours, etc,

TOM COOPER,

Templeogue, Dublin 6W.