So her majesty the Queen met Martin McGuinness and shook his hand in public. No doubt at one time he’d have like to have killed her, his organisation was certainly responsible for Lord Louis Mountbatten’s murder. Yet time is a great healer they say and no doubt after the IRA came in out of the cold this was inevitable.
The Queen, once a prime target for the IRA, shook hands not once but twice with Martin McGuinness, a former commander of the terrorist group, in a gesture that meant every bit as much as the sovereign’s historic visit to Ireland last year.
Barely a decade ago, the idea of the monarch, the ultimate symbol of British rule in Ulster, even being in the same room as Mr McGuinness, arguably the most recognisable former member of the IRA, would have been unthinkable.
Yet at a charity event in Belfast, Mr McGuinness appeared genuinely pleased to meet the Queen, even using the traditional Gaelic greeting of Cead Mile Failte – a hundred thousand welcomes.
Nor was their handshake a perfunctory one; the Queen held the hand of Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister for several seconds as they shook hands for the cameras at the end of the event, when Mr McGuinness wished her goodbye with another Gaelic phrase, Slan Agus Beannacht, which he translated for her as “Goodbye and Godspeed”.
There’s even the usual gushy royalist sentimentality further down the article about complimentary outfits etc. etc.
Yet does this really change anything? I don’t think it does, the IRA were never the threat that the authorities made them out to be and at the end due to good intelligence and some ruthless wetwork we had them on the run, though I suspect it was the loss of American support after the twin towers outrage that hurt their coffers the most.
That said, there are people out there, like me who will never ever forgive the likes of McGuinness, Adams et al. Not even if they begged for forgiveness rather than becoming part of the parasite class themselves. In every way that mattered these guys had the Nazi/Socialist mindset of the end justifying the means. Their are still missing victims and a complete lack of remorse or help intrying to find them. The IRA were not freedom fighters as such but a jumped up set of gangsters in a similar vein to the Mafia, tagged onto a mythical belief that Ireland should be united. Though the sad truth was that they wanted it united under their rule and the minute they’d forced us to give way the bombs would have started up in Dublin and the Republic knew this all to well.
So in the end it doesn’t matter what the Queen, or the powers that be might want us to think, some of us won’t forget and aren’t prepared to forgive.