Monday 23 October 2017

Martin McGuinness was always content to play second fiddle to Adams

Martin McGuinness looks at a portrait of Queen Elizabeth at Co-operation Ireland reception in London last November. Photo: PA
Martin McGuinness looks at a portrait of Queen Elizabeth at Co-operation Ireland reception in London last November. Photo: PA
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

How brilliant a political operator must Gerry Adams be that the late Martin McGuinness was consigned, and more than willing, to play second fiddle to the Sinn Féin president.

Mr McGuinness was the darling of the republican movement. His role as an IRA commander, and the de facto fiefdom he created in Derry, gave him a cachet - particularly with the republican hardmen outside Belfast - that Mr Adams could never match. He was also a deep political thinker with sound instincts, as well as being an excellent strategist and planner.

There was clearly no absence of steel - the stories of the IRA's ruthless activity in Derry show that - but Mr McGuinness also had an affability, a charm and a personal decency and empathy that could disarm even his fiercest foes.

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