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By Liam Clarke


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Additional info for Martin McGuinness: From Guns To Government

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Having weighed it up,’ McGuinness writes, ‘it was my personal view that we should not react. ’ By this time, McGuinness records, the OC had arrived, and issued to order not to retaliate, which was relayed by McGuinness as Adjutant to the leaders ‘of the various units of active service volunteers’. Once the orders had been issued, McGuinness says he is confident that no one disobeyed the decision. Since all weapons, he claims, were in a dump in the Bogside to which only one person, besides himself, had access, ‘there was no maverick action by IRA volunteers that day.

He remembers it as a hard school, which laid great store on corporal punishment. McGill explained ‘There were 54 kids in our class and we got thumped all the time, especially in Brother Harney's class. He was a traditionalist and the whole point of the school was to get people past the 11 plus. ’ For four years, McGill and McGuinness practised 11 plus tests continually. If, according to McGill, you failed to answer a question correctly, you joined a line of pupils. When the line was long enough, the teacher would start to beat everyone on the hands with his leather strap.

McGuinness denied knowing who Kelly’s killers were, or that he was on the army council of the IRA, and issued a blanket condemnation of all attacks on Irish army and Gardai. There was only one Oglaigh na hEireann, he said at one point in the campaign, and that was the army of the Irish state. Such statements, like offers to meet the Queen, mark a step change. They can never be taken back or reversed. McGuinness is on new ground and, win or lose, there is no way back to the old certainties. The very day that the second edition of Martin McGuinness: From Guns to Government hit the bookshops in 2003, we were in separate rooms in Antrim PSNI Serious Crimes Suite where we were held for 24 hours.

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