A former Lisburn Mayor whose brother was murdered by the IRA has paid tribute to Martin McGuinness for making the journey from terrorist to key player in the peace process.
Responding to Martin McGuinness’ death, the former UUP councillor Ronnie Crawford told the Ulster Star that the former Deputy First Minister’s journey into the peace process could not have been easy.
He said: “There have been may varied reactions to the death of Martin McGuinness. The difficulty is that there were two Martin McGuinnesses.
“The first Martin the IRA man who was involved in an organisation involved in sectarian murders, bombings and ethnic cleansing.
“The other McGuinness was a man who realised the futility of violence and set about supporting a peace process.
“Given his background it was not an easy journey for him to make and not all Republicans supported his view.
“Against all odds he formed a very affable relationship with the Rev. Ian Paisley and even greeted Her Majesty the Queen although she represents all he spent his life opposing.”
Mr Crawford lost his 38-year-old brother, part-time UDR sergeant Maynard Crawford, in January 1972 when he was shot and killed by the IRA at a building site in Newtownabbey.
The former Mayor told the Ulster Star of media claims that Mr McGuinness spoke at the funeral of the IRA man who is thought to have murdered his brother - something the Sinn Fein man denied when the pair met.
He added: “It is easy to be drawn into bitterness and recrimination but the unionist community is itself, not without sin. We have “loyalist” bands glorifying their terrorists whose deeds are no less evil and even today many loyalist areas suffer from domination by active paramilitaries which have nothing to any offer society.
“The sixth commandment not only forbids murder but also all thoughts of hatred and malice which can lead to violence and division.
“We can be assured that the Judge of all the earth will do right and I hope that those on both sides of our community will learn to set aside their divisions and the glorification of violence and pursue the paths of peace.”