One of the first interviews Martin McGuinness gave as a candidate for the Irish Presidency was with RTE. In it he stated that he wanted to be judged on his last two decades in Irish life. I can fully understand why he would only want a limited examination of his career. The contribution he made to Irish life and death in the earlier part of his career is the reason why he does not want to be treated like any other candidate and be judged on the whole picture. It is like sitting an exam and then demanding that the examiner only mark you on the last two questions you got right and ignore the other four you got hopelessly wrong.
Yes, we should be pleased and satisfied that he eventually made the journey from violence to politics, but we should not allow Sinn Fein’s flowery rhetoric over the duration of this campaign to delude us into thinking that he and his colleagues are the sole authors of the peace process.
The real authors of the Peace Process were John Hume and Albert Reynolds. It took all their powers of persuasion and influence to bring Adams and McGuinness along the road into constitutional politics. They were slow movers. We should all recall the slow progress, the false starts, the abandoned ceasefires. Yes the Unionists were no sprinters when it came to the peace process, but so too were Sinn Fein and the Provos.