The publication of what is believed to be the only pictures of Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness wearing an IRA uniform is a "dramatic reminder" of why republicans must endorse and support police and the courts, it has been claimed.
The Irish News yesterday (Monday) published a series of pictures of the MP taken at the funeral of fellow IRA man and close friend Colm Keenan in 1972.
Mr Keenan, along with another IRA member, Eugene McGillan, was shot dead by British soldiers during a gun battle in Derry's Bogside, although the organisation has denied the men were involved in the battle.
Taken by former Irish News photographer Willie Carson, the photographs will be published in a new collection of his work Derry Through the Lens: Refocus to mark the tenth anniversary of his death from cancer in 1996.
Published by Guildhall Press, the book includes pictures of Derry through the Troubles and into the peace process, including one of the photographer himself along with well-known press camera man Cyril Cain, who was shot in the leg with a plastic bullet while working in Derry.
Realising the sensitivity around some of the pictures, Mr Carson ordered that they never be published in his lifetime.
In August this year his son William discussed the possibility of publishing the photos with Mr McGuinness, who told him he had already confirmed to the Saville Inquiry that he was an IRA member during the early 1970s.
The DUP's Ian Paisley jnr last night claimed the photograph showed the need for republicans to give their backing to policing structures and the courts.
"If [Sinn Féin] expect to convince people in Northern Ireland they are no longer engaged in a subversive campaign designed to destroy the state and have instead turned to the pursuit of their agenda through exclusively peaceful and democratic means then support for, and working with the police will be evident from Sinn Féin. Decision time for republicans has arrived," he said.