My war with Britain is over: IRA leader
Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Fein deputy leader said to be one of the IRA’s most senior figures, has announced that he has abandoned his campaign of violence against the British state.
In a statement likely to be seen as a message to republicans and a reply to a call from the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for the IRA to disband, he told a documentary broadcast only in Northern Ireland: “My war is over.”
Mr McGuinness is a pivotal figure in the republican movement. His statements are said to carry the full weight of the IRA’s ruling Army Council, of which he is allegedly a member. By announcing he is no longer personally at war he will be seen to have given allies in the IRA, of which he claims to no longer be a member, approval to emulate him.
Mr McGuinness, who joined the Londonderry IRA at the age of 19, said in the documentary: “My war is over. My job as a political leader is to prevent war. My job is to continue to ensure a political set of circumstances which will never again see British soldiers or members of the IRA lose their lives as a result of political conflict.”