Sinn Fein TD Eoin O 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 O Broin also discussed watching a local Sinn Fein 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.
"I count myself as exceptionally lucky because my experience of that kind of violence was very, very limited," he said.
He said most of those involved in violence were "regular people" who took 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 conflict, those people who inflicted viol- ence and those people who were involved at some level."
He said he was opposed to all violence, but does not believe there is "any value" in commenting on whether the terrorist activities of the Provisional IRA were justified.
"I've always taken the view that's a conversation that at this point in time I don't think has any value," he said.
"All I ask people to do is not to change how they view Sinn Fein or current members of Sinn Fein 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 O Broin said he worked with people on Belfast City Council whose children were murdered or their family members shot dead for being members of Sinn Fein.
"For three years of my life I had two loyalist paramilitary death threats against me," he said. He also witnessed pipe-bomb attacks.
"You would have been either at, witnessed or called to scenes of pipe bombings in your constituency," he said.
He also described calling an ambulance for a Sinn Fein activist who was shot by a loyalist terrorist 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, who was putting his own life at risk trying to calm a situation down, was shot in the leg beside us and we had to call the ambulance," Mr O Broin said.