The IRA bomber who came within inches of killing Margaret Thatcher in 1984 says he stands by his actions – and the peace process.
Brighton Bomber Patrick Magee was handed eight live sentences in 1986 when he was convicted of attempting to murder the British Prime Minister.
As Britain prepares for the state funeral of the 87-year-old, Magee has spoken to the Irish Sun about his attempts to exterminate the British Cabinet at a Conservative Party conference.
Now working with a charity which aims to bring reconciliation to conflict zones, Magee insisted: “I saw no other options.”
The 61-year-old added: “I hurt human beings, I was involved in the armed struggle for a long time, I stand over my role in that struggle.
“But I have come to realise that in order to be involved in a conflict, in a war, you have this reduced view of people who you call your enemy.
“You see only the uniform, the political label attached to them or the nationality attached to them.”
Magee told the paper that he has ‘a personal regret to the victims of my actions’ and ‘enormous regret for having been involved in a struggle that killed people’.
But he added: “You don’t want to be someone my age and looking back and knowing you’ve hurt people and you’ve killed people. But I’ve found myself in a situation of conflict, I played a role in that.
“I thought there were no other options to our communities but to engage in that armed struggle. I regret it, but I thought it necessary.
“I’m deeply conflicted about the past, would rather it had been different, but in the context I saw no other options.
“I don’t think we would be where we are today, in terms of the Peace Process, in terms of shared administration, if we haven’t come through conflict.”
The Brighton bomb killed two Conservatives and three politicians’ wives with 34 others injured.
Magee added: “You’re caught up in this context of violence. It’s as if you feel an obligation to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people who are being bullied. Walking away from it, I found impossible.
“I can’t claim to have renounced violence, though I don’t believe I’m a violent person. I’m 100 per cent in favour of the Peace Process but I’m not a pacifist.”