With Martin McGuinness's funeral taking place in Derry today, TD's around the country have spoken warmly about him, writes Fionn McCausland.
With his funeral taking place in Derry today, former associates of Martin McGuinness have been speaking out with warm words for the recently deceased politician.
“The people have moved to a situation of accepting democracy and I think he’ll be remembered for that.” Declan Breathnach TD, spoke candidly about his Northern Colleague. “I found him to be an exemplary politician”, said the Junior Spokesperson on Cross Border Co-Operation. The two worked together between Louth and Down on the Narrow Water Bridge Project.
The Louth TD mentioned the importance of the “continuation of the peace-process” that was implemented through the efforts of contributors such as McGuinness. “I think it’s important in the day that’s in it to remember his good deeds and his contributions to that peace process, as opposed to the hours of the past” said Breathnach.
The Fianna Fáil spokesperson claims that the days of “the armilite in one hand and the ballot box in the other” are behind Northern Irish politics and that “people have seen the error of their ways”.
Find his interview here: https://soundcloud.com/dcufmrocks/declan-breathnach-on-the-legacy-of-martin-mcguinness
Fianna Fail TD Fiona O’ Laughlin noted “it’s a sad day for Northern Irish politics and a sad day for Irish politics.”
‘’Martin showed a lot of growth, from a history of absolute violence to putting the democracy back into politics”. The Kildare representative said that she had worked with McGuinness, noting “very strong and fond memories of him”.
"I worked very closely with both Catholics and Protestants and Martin was a big part of that.”
O’Laughlin said that, to McGuinness, politics was a “personal” endeavour and that “he understood” the sensitivity of the atmosphere North of the border. Praising him for having “a very caring aspect” to his personality, O’Laughlin described his character as “really quite incredible”.
Sinn Féin TD John Brady also weighed in on the legacy of the polarising politician. Brady said that he had heard comparisons being made between McGuinness and Mandela. “When his community needed him, Nelson Mandela stood up and represented them, as did Martin McGuinness.”
Speaking of his influence on the Northern Irish populous, Brady said that “many people have become politicised and have stepped into that arena in which Martin represented republicanism”.
Brexit is now on Northern Ireland’s doorstep and Brady believes that a United Ireland is “only a matter of time”.
“The notion of a united Ireland is no longer a taboo issue. The work of Martin over many, many years has popularised the notion of the reunification of our country”.
In response to the negative comments from victims of McGuinness’ IRA comrades, Brady said they should “have a look at the relationship that martin McGuinness forged with Ian Paisley”. “The chuckle brothers” was a nickname given to McGuinness and Paisley over the years as their relationship developed from one of political hostility to friendship and cooperation.
Finally, the Wicklow TD remarked McGuinness has “brought us from a very difficult point”
‘’That’s the legacy which members of the unionist community should look upon”.
Find his interview here: https://soundcloud.com/dcufmrocks/john-brady-on-the-legacy-of-martin-mcguinnesss