‘Grave concern justice will be trumped for political process’

TUV leader Jim Allister has spoken of his “grave concern” that the “political process will once more trump truth and justice” over the murder of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan.

The east Belfast man – a father of nine – was gunned down outside his Short Strand home in front of his wife Dolores on Wednesday.

First Minister Peter Robinson has warned there will be political repercussions if it is established that the Provisional IRA was involved in the murder.

However, Mr Allister said his “bigger concern is that the political process, in order to be self-protecting, will close ranks to protect them (Sinn Fein) again”.

Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey, and other party colleagues, have insisted that PIRA was not responsible for the 53-year-old’s murder.

But Mr Allister questioned, “how do they know that, who did they talk to if the IRA no longer exists?”

Last week a male and a female were arrested as part of the overall investigation into the murder of Mr McGuigan. They were later released unconditionally.

It is understood that the PSNI are examining CCTV footage from cameras around the Short Strand area.

Last night former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre called for republicans to practice “logic”.

“There is also a need to cool heads,” he told the News Letter.

Mr McIntyre said he believed “the IRSP [Irish Republican Socialist Party] should offer themselves as mediators” as “they had experience of terrible internal bloodletting” and “gained experience in ensuring it did not reoccur”.

Another former republican prisoner who did not wish to be named said: “The general feeling is, everyone accepts the Provos killed him in an act of revenge over Jock Davison. It was the Provos, they wanted him and they got him.”

The republican source said he was “surprised that McGuigan did not hide away” after receiving information that his life was under threat.

“Then again, if you thought they were coming for you, you would get stubborn and say, I am not moving,” he said.

“Maybe he had nothing to do with the murder of Davison at the end of the day. It is hard to get to the full facts when the Provos are professionals at trying to smear people and use different journalists to blacken people’s names.”

He added that he understood Mr McGuigan’s funeral “will be a family affair”.

“I can’t see any organisation stepping in to bury him,” he added.