On Bloody Sunday, when British soldiers opened fire on a protest march in Derry in 1972, shooting 26 unarmed civilians: *
“The worst I ever felt was Bloody Sunday. I wandered about stunned, with people crying and looking for their relatives and I thought of all that guff about honour between soldiers. The British army knew right well we wouldn’t fight them with all those thousands of people there, so they came in and murdered the innocent. I used to worry about being killed before that day, but now I don’t think about death at all.”
—McGuinness, as quoted in Nell.
On his political aims:
“I want a United Ireland where everyone has a good job and enough to live on. … I’d be willing to sweep the roads in my world, and it wouldn’t seem like a bad job if they got the same wage as everybody else, but do you not think now that people are just too greedy? Somebody always wants to make a million. Anyway, before you can try, you have to get this country united. We’d make sure that Protestants are fairly treated.”
—McGuinness, as quoted in Nell.
On convincing the IRA to call a ceasefire:
“At the time of the ceasefire I had to go to the IRA and say, ‘Gerry Adams and I believe that it would be a good thing to call a ceasefire.’ At that time it would have been heresy to an awful lot of Irish republicans, and we had to try to outline for people what we thought would be a process that would see other parties have to respond to what the IRA had done. And, of course, all the parties have responded to what the IRA have done. The DUP wouldn’t be in government today were it not that they were convinced that the IRA were serious about the peace process.”
—McGuinness, as quoted in Alternative Ulsters: Conversations on Identity, by Mark Carruthers, 2013.
On meeting Queen Elizabeth in 2012:
“So, I said to myself, will this encounter assist the peace process and increase people’s understanding of the journey that we all have to travel? I’m travelling on a journey to do this; I’ve suffered, my friends have suffered, my community has suffered at the hands of the British Army—but Queen Elizabeth has suffered at the hands of the IRA also, and I think it was an important thing to do. I’ve been criticized for it by a minority within republicanism who didn’t like it and didn’t agree with what I’d done.”
—McGuinness, as quoted in Alternative Ulsters: Conversations on Identity.
Others on McGuinness:
Tony Blair's negotiator Jonathan Powell on meeting McGuinness:
“A few days after the meeting I got a call from Martin McGuinness asking me to come and meet him in Derry, incognito. He asked me not to tell the ‘securocrats’ and to come alone. I flew to Aldergrove, took a taxi to Derry and stood on a street corner feeling mildly foolish. After ten minutes or so, two men with shaved heads approached me saying ‘Martin sent us’ and pushed me into the back of a taxi. They drove me round in circles for an hour until I was completely lost and then ejected me when we arrived in front of a neat modern house on a small estate. I knocked on the door and Martin McGuinness opened it on crutches, making a not very funny joke about kneecapping, the IRA’s favoured method of punishment. I spent three hours with him in front of an open fire with tea and sandwiches left by the considerate owner of the house.”