Martin McGuinness dies: ‘The truth has died with him, that’s a big problem’

Maxine Hambleton died in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings
Maxine Hambleton died in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings

The younger sister of an IRA bombing victim has claimed “the truth has died” with Northern Ireland former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

Julie Hambleton said relatives of many of the terrorist group’s victims were still waiting for “truth and justice”, following the death of the ex-IRA commander aged 66.

She claimed: “He was very opaque and selective with the truth.

“With him the truth has died and that’s the big problem.”

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who led tributes to his life-long friend, said: “He was a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the reunification of his country.”

Politicians from the UK and Ireland also praised Mr McGuinness’s contribution to peace and reconciliation.

Ms Hambleton, whose older sister Maxine was killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, offered her condolences to his family.

But she said many relatives of IRA victims were still waiting for answers about what happened to loved ones, including The Disappeared.

She added: “People are piling the praise on him but it isn’t valid.

“He didn’t come forward with the truth.”

Ms Hambleton, who leads the Justice4the21 campaign which last year won fresh inquests into the deaths of the pub bombings victims, said she still hoped other former IRA members would speak about what happened during The Troubles.

She said: “I can but hope that lips will be looser, not just for our loved ones but for everybody’s sake – many of whom still after all these years have no body to bury.”