11 March 2019
DUP Leader Arlene Foster MLA has written to Andrew Whittaker, the British Consul General in San Francisco following the award of a ‘certificate of honour’ by the City of San Francisco to Martin McGuinness which cites his “courageous service in the military”.
Mrs Foster said, “The reference to “courageous service in the military” within this honour has caused a great deal of pain and offence to many people within Northern Ireland. In the later part of his life Martin McGuinness undoubtedly played a very important role in the restoration of devolution. That peaceful political role was an important part of his life, but the earlier part of his life was one of violence.
It is important the people of San Francisco know something of the reality of IRA terrorism and I have asked the Consul General to pass on a letter to Mayor Breed which details some of the IRA’s activities and makes an offer for her to visit Northern Ireland and see how that terrorism still causes pain today.
At a time when Martin McGuinness was a commander of the Provisional IRA Londonderry, the towns of Claudy and Coleraine suffered indiscriminate car bomb attacks.
These were bomb attacks which murdered pensioners and young children, a reality of IRA terrorism which is likely to be unkown to the Mayor of San Francisco. Neither is it likely she would be aware of the IRA’s murder of Patsy Gillespie who was used as a human bomb by the Provisional IRA.
By his own confession Martin McGuinness did not reveal the full details of his activities in the IRA and other members. His account of when he left the IRA also does not stand up to detailed scrutiny.
I hope that Mayor Breed she might take up the invitation to learn more about the activities of the IRA, or even to visit Northern Ireland and find out first-hand from those who suffered from their terrorism."