Unionist anger over Martin McGuinness headstone inscription

Mary Lou McDonald TD and Foyle MLAs Raymond McCartney and Elisha McCallion unveil a new headstone to Martin McGuinness.
Mary Lou McDonald TD and Foyle MLAs Raymond McCartney and Elisha McCallion unveil a new headstone to Martin McGuinness.

The unveiling of a headstone for Martin McGuinness, which referes to the former deputy First Minister as an IRA volunteer, should serve as a “reality check”.

That was the view of DUP MP Gregory Campbell after the headstone was erected as part of an Easter Rising commemoration in Derry’s City Cemetery yesterday.

Headstone of Martin McGuinness

Headstone of Martin McGuinness

Mr McGuinness died last month at the age of 66. The dedication on his Celtic cross gravestone reads ‘Oglach Martin McGuinness, Oglaigh na h-Eireann, MP, MLA, Minister’.

Oglach is the term used by the IRA to describe its volunteers.

Mr Campbell said the inscription with references to his IRA membership will “come as no surprise to most people”.

The East Londonderry MP added: “For those who were caught up in the hyperbole at the time of his passing and burial however, it ought to serve as a reality check.

“The inscription of ‘volunteer’ along with the use of the Irish term for the ‘IRA’ are there as lasting testimonies to terror, long after the eulogies have faded, those who got carried away with some of the media’s attempted elevation to statesmanship can now see for generations to come what those closest to him want everyone else to remember him as.

“A volunteer in Irish Republican parlance didn’t work in a charity shop, they terrorised people, they strapped an innocent man to his car and turned him into a human bomb, they shot a young innocent woman collecting census forms, that’s what a ‘volunteer’ in the IRA did.

The only good that can come from this engraving is that now those who are prepared to look for the unvarnished truth, can do so, on a headstone that will be there for generations to come.”

The memorial was unveiled by Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, as well as Foyle MLAs Raymond McCartney and Elisha McCallion.