Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin has said he found Provisional IRA members who inflicted violence during the Troubles to be among the most committed to the peace process.
During a wide-ranging interview on Independent.ie's 'Floating Voter' podcast, Mr Ó Broin also discussed watching a local Sinn Féin activist being shot by a loyalist terrorist.
The Dublin Mid-West TD also said death threats were made against him by loyalist paramilitaries while he was serving on Belfast City Council from 2001 to 2004.
"I count myself as exceptionally lucky because my experience of that kind of violence was very, very limited," Mr Ó Broin said.
He said most of those involved in the violence were "regular people" who ended up taking decisions that people who did not live in Belfast at that time would find "really difficult to understand".
"Those who were most committed to peace were those who were most negatively affected by it," he said. "Those who have lost loved ones throughout the course of the conflict, those people who inflicted violence and those people who were involved at some level."
He said he was opposed to all violence. However, he does not believe there is "any value" in commenting on whether the terrorist activities of the Provisional IRA were justified.
"I have always taken the view that that's a conversation that at this point in time I don't think has any value, honestly," he said.
"All I ask people to do is not to change how they view Sinn Féin or current members of Sinn Féin who were formerly in the IRA or formerly political prisoners [based on] their past.
"People are going to take their own view on all of that but equally we have to judge people on the work they do in terms of ensuring their past can never be repeated and that's a difficult space."
Mr Ó Broin said he worked with people on Belfast City Council whose children had been murdered or their family members shot dead for being members of Sinn Féin.
"For three years of my life I had two loyalist paramilitary death threats against me," he said. He also witnessed pipe bomb attacks first hand.
"You would have been either at, witnessed or called to scenes of pipe bombings in your constituency at various stages," he said.
He also described calling an ambulance for a Sinn Féin activist who was shot by a loyalist terrorist during a stand-off in North Belfast.
"A UDA gunman from another vantage point started shooting at us and one of the guys who was out on the streets with us, who was putting his own life at risk trying to calm a situation down, and physically keeping the peace, was shot in the leg and found beside us and we had to call the ambulance," Mr Ó Broin said.
The Dublin TD also discussed growing up in south Co Dublin suburb of Cabinteely and going to the fee-paying Blackrock College.
He also revealed he never completed his Leaving Cert.
"I was a terribly lazy pupil in secondary school. I was there physically if not intellectually," he said.
Mr Ó Broin said he sat the first exam of the Leaving Cert but left after 30 minutes and did not do the remaining exams. However, he did return to second-level education when he moved to England and went on to get a degree in cultural studies.
In London, he spent time squatting and playing in bands. He eventually joined the Irish Society in his university where he sought to highlight Irish racism in Britain.
He also described being regularly evacuated from his catering jobs in the UK due to IRA bomb warnings.