Seamus Mallon: Poisonous ideology of SF and how IRA was defeated by its own demons
Former SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon says politics is a long game - and violence does not determine history
During these 40 odd years we saw at first hand, the futility of violence, the awfulness of human suffering and concerted attempts to tip Northern Ireland into outright civil war.
To prevent, that, down, all those years, two things were essential, one being that the political process was kept alive and in the words of Martin Luther King: "We had to hue out of the mountain of despair the precious stone of hope."
Without those two pre-requisites we would have no Good Friday Agreement, no ending of violence, and no hope for the immediate future. Thankfully both of those pre-requisites were achieved.