Praise for IRA leader adds to our pain

For 40 years McGuinness was a leading figure who brought suffering to thousands of people. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
For 40 years McGuinness was a leading figure who brought suffering to thousands of people. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

I like many thousands of victims are experiencing difficult emotions surrounding the passing of Martin McGuinness.

For 40 years the PIRA with Martin McGuinness as one of its leading figures sustained an unnecessary campaign that brought death and suffering to thousands of innocent people irrespective of background.

On May 3rd 1985 my father William was murdered at our rural home in the Dromara Hills. We lived alone and after hearing two gunshots at 7am in the morning I ran out of our home and found my father murdered.

After which I ran half a mile to raise the alarm, I was only 12 years old.

My father did not reach the age of 66, nor did he receive dignity in death, instead he was forced to his knees and shot twice in the head at point blank range and his body dragged to concealment.

That image of his face covered in blood is one I can never forget.

According to intelligence services Martin McGuinness was an activist who oversaw the PIRA strategy throughout that period.

The praise and platitudes that are being heaped on Martin McGuinness causes further trauma to many victims.

Regrettably, the scrutiny of his past will be lost in the quagmire of expediency which facilitates the great historical whitewash. No one should ever be praised for turning from their brutal sectarian past that nothing justified in the first place.

I genuinely believe republicans only embraced politics solely to extract further concessions on their united Ireland roadmap, after their terrorist campaign failed.

These concessions are now exhausted, hence our current political impasse.

Republicans have always sought to persuade emerging generations that we were all equally culpable for what happened here and are relentless in their pursuit of absolving themselves from their own depravity while holding everyone else to account.

Over the next few days we will experience Republican choreography at its very best as they seek to exploit every opportunity that will undoubtedly be facilitated naively by the great and good.

In the meantime victims like myself will continue to endure further trauma and emotional rawness as events unfold. We must continue to ensure people are reminded of the brutal truth especially younger generations of the real Martin McGuinness.

These young people who are the future must be prepared and equipped to challenge the narrative distortions and not in any way acquiesce with the false propaganda and liberal delusions.

Over the past few days I have found solace and comfort from other victims as we speak with one voice, a voice that transcends borders and religious boundaries.

It is very evident Martin McGuinness was proud of his past and showed no remorse or contrition, he went to his grave unrepentant with the truth that would have provided closure to many of his victims in his home city and surrounding areas.

Ultimately, we will all give an account of our deeds before God and unless Martin McGuinness repented of his sin, God will be his judge and justice will prevail.

It is appointed onto man once to die, but after that the judgement. Heb 9 vs 27

Sammy Heenan, Rathfriland