Enniskillen victim slams Martin McGuinness over ‘proud to be in IRA’ comments

Martin McGuinness with masked IRA men at the funeral of Brendan Burns in March 1988
Martin McGuinness with masked IRA men at the funeral of Brendan Burns in March 1988

A woman whose mother was killed in a bombing that has been linked to the Deputy First Minister has slammed him for an interview in which he said he was “proud” of his IRA past and would not apologise to anyone for it.

Mr McGuinness’s comments were broadcast on Sunday in an interview with Eamonn Mallie on new TV station, Irish TV.

Asked by Eamonn Mallie how he felt killing soldiers or police Mr McGuinness said: “I believed that in a situation where the community that I came from were being treated like second and third-class citizens, that I had a responsibility to fight back against it ... I was proud to be a member of the IRA.

“I am still, 40 years on, proud that I was a member of the IRA. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and sit here and say something different.”

Last month, victims’ campaigner Kenny Donaldson told the Northern Ireland Affairs committee that a senior HET officer wanted to quiz Mr McGuinness about the Enniskillen bombing but that the NIO had advised it would not be a good idea – and it did not happen.

Aileen Quinton, whose mother was killed in the 1987 atrocity in which 11 others died, condemned Mr McGuinness’s remarks.

“It is a disgrace that we have an unrepentant terrorist as Deputy First Minister – not just unrepentant but who glories in the terror and who has not disclosed all his terrorist actions and all the terrorist actions that he has first-hand knowledge of. How is this not criminal,” she said.

The UUP added: “It’s beyond disappointing that Martin McGuinness cannot even bring himself to express remorse for his own role in a dirty, grubby and often sectarian terrorist campaign.”

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: “He tells us of pride in leading a terrorist organisation in Londonderry but once again refuses to tell the truth about exactly what that role involved.”

SDLP MLA Alban Maginness also slammed the Deputy First Minister’s refusal to detail his involvement with the IRA, adding: “Martin McGuinness must also have greater consideration for the weight of his words and how they will be interpreted by people who have suffered greatly at the hands of the IRA.”