‘Hurt’ over Campbell - McGuinness IRA novel

Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell consulted with Martin McGuinness for details of IRA active service units for his new novel. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell consulted with Martin McGuinness for details of IRA active service units for his new novel. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A man whose brother was killed in the IRA Claudy bombing says he has been retraumatised by hearing that Martin McGuinness gave details on the terror group to Alastair Campbell for a novel - despite refusing to meet victims of the atrocity.

While Mr McGuinness previously refused to discuss the IRA at the Bloody Sunday inquiry - citing an oath of silence - Mr Campbell said he had provided him with valuable IRA information for his novel about a fictional attempt to kill 1974 Secretary of State Merlyn Rees . The novel is called Saturday, Bloody Saturday.

But David Temple, whose 16-year-old brother William was killed in the 1972 IRA bomb attack on the Co Londonderry village of Claudy, said hearing the revelations was retraumatising.

The triple IRA bomb attack on the sleepy village - about ten miles from Martin McGuinness’ home - killed nine innocent civilians, including three children, and injured many more.

Mr Campbell told Good Morning Ulster that Martin McGuinness was “very helpful” in persuading him that one of the IRA characters “could be a woman” and had been able to provide “just little details” about IRA units.

Originally an IRA character who was part of the assassination team was in prison “and Martin just said, ‘that wouldn’t have happened, that couldn’t have happened’, and that is quite helpful when somebody tells you that”.

He did not feel uneasy about taking information from someone who admitted being an IRA leader.

“I liked Martin McGuinness as a person, as a human being and I know that will sound terrible to some people. But I really liked the guy. And I feel he definitely had made a change in his mind, in his life, and the way that he lived his life.”

But Mr Temple felt aggrieved that Mr McGuinness would share information on the IRA for a novel, saying he had ignored numerous requests to meet the Claudy families to answer questions.

“Martin McGuinness would have been better off telling the people of Claudy about the bombing that killed my brother,” he said.

He noted that Mr McGuinness had claimed not to have been a friend of Fr James Chesney, who was involved in the bombing, yet admitted visiting him on his death bed.

“Alistair Campbell should realise before he does things like this that it hurts and retraumatises victims.”

He believes Mr McGuinness must have been involved in the bombing.

“Those boys [McGuinness and Campbell] are big buddies of the peace process but they never cared about victims. Campbell is just in it for money, to sell as many books as possible with the help of an IRA commander.”