Martin McGuiness, a former leading member the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), and now the Sinn Fein candidate for the Irish Presidency, has admitted that killings carried out by the IRA can correctly be described as murders.
In an interview with The Independent (Oct 03), he has said that IRA killing of innocents could be described as murder. “I accept that in the circumstances where innocent people lost their lives, it’s quite legitimate for the term murder to be used.”
David McKittrick, the Ireland Correspondent of The Independent, who interviewed McGuiness said ” his words represent a significant departure from the standard language used by Sinn Fein and the IRA, whose leaders have never before conceded that any IRA killings could be characterised as murder. The republican stance has been that the IRA killings were carried out in the context of a legitimate “armed struggle” the report said.
The IRA, of which McGuiness was deputy leader was responsible for about 1,800 of the 3,700 deaths of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland.
In his interview McGuiness refused to describe the IRA killings of British soldiers as “wrong”. But he added: “The IRA was involved in quite a number of incidents which resulted in the accidental killing of innocent people and the term used by he relatives of these people who were killed was that they were murdered. I wouldn’t disagree with that” he said.
Asked to clarify whether that meant the IRA carried out murders, the Irish presidential candidate replied “it’s the same as saying that I accept that, in the circumstances where innocent people lost their lives, then it’s quite legitimate for the term murder to be used”.
This new language of admission of guilt by McGuiness comes during the election campaign to the Presidency of the Irish Republic, where he has now ranked in third position in the race. As The Independent reported, he has come under sustained attack from commentators and others who say they disbelieve his claim that he left the IRA in 1974 and that he should therefore bear responsibility for the organization’s decades long campaign of violence.
Martin McGuiness visited Sri Lanka in 2006 when he met with the LTTE leadership, especially Tamilchelvam, and urged them to engage in negotiations while continuing the armed conflict. He said: “I asked both the government and the Tamil Tigers to take decisive initiatives to build the peace process. I am convinced that there is the will on both sides to find a resolution but that increasing conflict is making the peace efforts more and more difficult. My core message was that both sides need to act decisively to prevent the downward spiral into all out conflict. The reality is that, just as in Ireland, there can be no military victory and that the only alternative to endless conflict is dialogue, negotiations and accommodation” (Ilankai Tamil Sangam USA).
Shortly after his meeting with the LTTE leadership at their Kilinochchi Headquarters, McGuiness criticized the European Union for banning the Tamil Tigers as a Terrorist Organization. He said that “it was a huge mistake for EU leaders to demonize the LTTE and the political leaders of the Tamil people.” McGuinness’ visit, which was unannounced, was approved by the Sri Lankan government, which provided him a military helicopter to visit rebel territory ( Asian Tribune).
Later, in 2008,as the fighting to defeat the LTTE terror intensified in the North, he stated to the BBC Belfast Bureau Andrew Whitehead, that “The resolution of the conflict in Sri Lanka can only happen at the negotiating table, nowhere else.”
Political analysts, at the time, said his sudden wake-up after two years time since he visited Sri Lanka on 2006, is a push from the Front Organizations of the LTTE in UK in order to get the international attention and sympathy for the ongoing military operations against the LTTE in the north.