Tony Blair Statement on Martin McGuinness

Tony Blair Statement on Martin McGuinness

Tony Blair Statement on Martin McGuinness


2 min read

"I am very sorry to learn of Martin's death and send his family my deep sympathy and condolences.

‎I grew up watching and hearing about the Martin McGuinness who was a leading member of the IRA engaged in armed struggle. I came to know the Martin McGuinness who set aside that armed struggle in favour of making peace. There will be some who cannot forget the bitter legacy of the war. And for those who lost loved ones in it that is completely understandable. But for those of us able finally to bring about the Northern Ireland peace agreement, we know we could never have done it without Martin's leadership, courage and quiet insistence that the past should not define the future.

After first meeting in Northern Ireland and then again shortly after in Downing Street ‎- an historic meeting, between a British PM and the Republican leadership in the Cabinet room where so much Irish history had been made - he explained at length to me the causes of Republican grievance. I listened. We talked. And as the meeting went on he explained why he thought despite all the grievance there was a chance for peace.

Over the years - through the arduous negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement - and for the years after it, I got to know ‎Martin well. We met many, many times and as the trust grew between himself, my team, Gerry Adams and their team, so the discussions became increasingly open, frank and therefore productive.

By the time that extraordinary day arrived in 2007 after almost a decade of hard work where we could witness the - to my generation - incredible sight of he and Ian Paisley sitting down together in Government, the transition of Martin to reconciliator was complete.

Whatever the past, the Martin I knew was a thoughtful, reflective and committed individual. Once he became the peace maker he became it wholeheartedly and with no shortage of determined opposition to those who wanted to carry on the war.

I will remember him therefore with immense gratitude for the part he played in the peace process and with genuine affection for the man I came to know and admire for his contribution to peace."

Transcript: Press Conference on The Report of the Iraq Inquiry


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