Saturday 29 April 2017

When does a terrorist become a 'freedom fighter' and statesman?

The terror attack on Westminster last week recalled the murder of a Conservative MP and the vicious campaign of the IRA
Fearsome symmetry: Airey Neave's bombed-out car in the Palace of Westminster in 1979
Fearsome symmetry: Airey Neave's bombed-out car in the Palace of Westminster in 1979
Jody Corcoran

Jody Corcoran

Last Wednesday, in the House of Commons in London, before she set out her engagements for the day, British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her condolences to the family and colleagues of the former deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness.

"Of course, we do not condone or justify the path he took in the earlier part of his life, and we should never forget that or the victims of terrorism," she said. She went on to refer to the "indispensable role" McGuinness played in bringing the republican movement away from violence to peaceful and democratic means and to building a better Northern Ireland.

Within hours the Prime Minister would flee under armed guard from the Palace of Westminster after a modern-day terrorist drove along Westminster Bridge, killing three people (another died later), then proceeded into the grounds of the House of Commons where he murdered a police officer, before the UK Defence Secretary's protection officer shot him dead.

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