Oration delivered by President Percy Pompous At the Graveside of Martin McGuinness.
Martin can no longer speak for himself but we knew him well enough to state with certainty where his thoughts would lie. It is often said that I too lie but in a different sense from the way Martin is lying at the minute. That is simply untrue. It is the fake news of the political establishment eager to run with alternative facts that I was some sort of IRA figure. They do this despite knowing that Percy Pompous, the IRA member in our household, was my late father. He was a truly abusive man, the very type who would join violent groups like the IRA. I can’t be blamed that he gave me his name when I was born so that he could aid the enemies of the peace process in a bid to deny his own son his future greatness. But as I said, he was abusive and thought little of his children. That is why the republican funeral he got was a much lower key affair than the one today.
That is the type of man he was. It is all the media’s fault that many shoulder me with responsibility for his actions. The media faked and falsified, covered up his role so that they could easier blame me in a bid to undermine the peace process I was building with Martin here. Yes, the IRA did have a Percy Pompous who was responsible for many bad actions. But it was the other one, my father, not me.
But to get back to the reason we are here today, me. Martin would have wanted you more than ever to endorse the leadership of which he and I were the key part, the only part in fact that really mattered. From death springs life. And my political career to which you know I am utterly committed can now be extended for even longer than anybody ever thought possible. There is absolutely nothing that would infuriate those unionist bastards, the Irish Independent fakers, the British political establishment, the Dublin Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum establishment more than me remaining president of this great party for fifty years. Are we to forego all of that just because there is little democratic precedent for it? Democracy needs replenished with new ideas. And our greatest contribution to the concept of democracy is the 50-year Presidential Rut ... Reich, sorry, Reich I mean.
So while I want you to honour Martin, we must not lose sight of the fact that the important political task ahead is that you remember me as you leave here today. Martin was a deeply spiritual man who during the course of his 666 years ... sorry 66 years – my notes rustle in the breeze - helped many souls catch the early chariot to heaven. If we search for some sort of religious symbolism in his passing it is to be found in the biblical tale of resurrection. My political career can be resurrected and I might yet be Taoiseach.
Yes, truly, truly I say onto you, Martin died so that I might be remembered as the main act here today. From the graves of dead patriarchs spring political careers. That is why I chose me and not Mary Lou or Michelle to deliver the graveside eulogy. It is not selfish on my part. I have no ambitions, being a man of simple tastes and pleasures. A Taoiseach, not him here today, is one who serves the greatest number of people. This great movement has asked me to lead it and in my humbleness, I have accepted rather than pass the onerous burden onto others. Never ask another to do something you will not do yourself. There is no way I would ask some other unfortunate to be leader for fifty years. That is a cross that I alone must carry.
Martin was in the IRA and I was not. That should be placed firmly in the public record for the unshakeable truth that it is. The Irish Times, the so-called paper of record, is no better than the Indo in this respect. Despite that much-vaunted claim it refuses to put this simple fact on the record. Shame on the censors. Michael Collins, who Martin ably followed in maintaining the partition that Michael won for us, sent volunteers into the offices of the Irish Independent, held the editor at gunpoint, and destroyed the entire printing press. That’s what he did. Now I can just see the headline in the Independent tomorrow. I’m obviously not advocating that.
From prison, where I was interned as a result of my work in the Civil Rights Movement, I was able to convince Martin to leave the IRA in 1974 so that together we might build a peace process and rescue the Sunningdale Agreement from the shambles that it had become, wrecked by a combination of intransigent unionist and incorrigible physical force republicanism.
When we opposed the O’Bradigh/O’Conaill leadership axis for their disastrous truce we did so because it came shortly after the rejection by both men of power sharing. In the searing words of Martin from 1986, Shame, Shame, Shame. To Martin, for having both resurrected Stormont and consolidating the partition that the Northern people consent to I say Praise, Praise, Praise.
Martin was not infallible. He made mistakes. Most of you do but you are aware of it. But it can never be said that you made the unpardonable mistake of challenging me in a leadership contest. You are admirably aware of your limitations and short comings. As was he. When ordered out of his sick bed for a Jimmy Drumm redux of Bodenstown 1977 he did not complain. He publicly made right the wrong that he and that assembly of the fools, the fools, the fools, had inflicted by taking too literally the deputy status.
I have since put that right. Now my task is to lead you to wherever you will unquestioningly follow me. Let your white stick lead you, not your pen. Rightly are the simple so called. Have faith comrades. Give your leadership the strategic space to be deceptive. Reason is for the perceptive.