Thursday 27 April 2017

At least Martin McGuinness moved in the right direction

The extraordinary thing about the funeral of Martin McGuinness was just how inclusive it was
A view of Martin McGuinness's funeral procession Photo: PA
A view of Martin McGuinness's funeral procession Photo: PA

Eoin O'Malley

In December 1983, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness stood outside the home of Colm McGirr in Coalisland Co Tyrone. McGirr, a member of the Provisional IRA, had been shot by the British army when he and another member, Brian Campbell, were checking an IRA arms store. The killing was part of the controversial 'shoot to kill' policy the British employed in the 1980s.

McGuinness draped a tricolour on the coffin, on to which Adams placed a beret, gloves and belt. It was a large funeral, several thousand people were reported to be there, and Adams and McGuinness carried the coffin to the grave, where, in a show of strength, masked IRA men shot volleys over the grave.

McGuinness and Adams, who claimed to have taken the political route, were making a gesture designed to show that Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA were as one.

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