I remember the first time Sinn Féin came into talks. It was June 1996, and I was in my late twenties. I was petrified. The PUP saw republicans coming into the talks as a good thing. I remember Gusty Spence [a veteran loyalist paramilitary leader] saying: “Ah, we need them in, we need them in!” I was saying to him: “Are you mad?” But Gusty kept saying: “We need Sinn Féin in the democratic process....
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