The IRA (and its many factions) have often made threats against any Sinn Fein members who negotiate with the British Government. The 1922-1923 Irish Civil War started as a direct result of the separatists (Fianna FÃ¡il versus Fine Gael), with the main antagonist (and negotiator) Michael Collins being shot by his fellow countrymen for 'selling out'. Many (including me) see him and a revolutionist visionary, who saw that the fight could be won through political means if the armed struggle has been exhausted. Some people saw him (and his Party) as dangerous, and it seems nothing has changed.
In modern times British Intelligence and Special Forces have notified the opposition when it was apparent that a 'hit' was being planned (Adams and Bernadette McCluskey, to name two high profile members). Despite the differences, the Government saw the value in having a 'moderate enemy' in a position of influence and authority, for future benefits... Saddam Hussein and other despot dictators, anyone? :wink:
The problem here is that McGuiness and Adams are seeking a peaceful resolution to their problems (gaining a united Irleland) and that although they are MLA's and entitled to a seat in Westminster they do also still hold some control over the actions of Sinn Fein and it's associated paramilitary group (PIRA). What I'm getting at is that they are to an extent on our side now and if they were assasinated then someone will fill their place who might not hold the same peaceful views as they do. I will never excuse their actions, decisions and shamefull acts that they have commited in the past, but surely this is a case of better the devil you know?
Remember when Adams was shot by one of the "other side " in Ireland, and he was saved by an undercover Army patrol, who summoned the medics ? He complained about being followed by the security forces ! My son-in-law, and brother-in-law, both of whom served several tours in NI, one with the D&D, and the other with the RM said they both would've yelled for an ambulance at the top of their voices - but standing on his throat when they were doing it. The pair of them have have as nearly as much blood on their hands as King Herod - and we have the stupidity to talk to them as political equals ? No wonder Ireland is the shitehole it's been for the last 400 years