McGuinness’ views on Omagh cut little ice with IRA victims

Deputy First Minister Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
Deputy First Minister Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness

Victims of various republican atrocities have given a sceptical reaction to Martin McGuinness’ calls for an inquiry into the Real IRA bombing of Omagh.

The Deputy First Minister criticised this week’s decision by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers not to hold a public inquiry into the 1998 attack, which claimed 29 lives.

Speaking from New York on Thursday, Mr McGuinness said: “I think it’s a mistake. I think Theresa Villiers has closed down a demand that the families have had for many years, and a real hope that the families have had that they would get a proper investigation into what happened at that time.”

Colin Worton, whose brother Kenneth was murdered in the Kingsmills massacre in 1976, welcomed Mr McGuinness’ inquiry call.

“But there should be an independent inquiry into Kingsmills too,” he said.

“The Historical Enquiries Team said the IRA did it – but Sinn Fein refuses to admit it. And Martin McGuinness refused to give evidence to the Saville inquiry due to his IRA code of silence; he has more faces than the Albert Clock.”

Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel was murdered in the IRA Enniskillen bombing in 1987, said he was fully behind the Omagh families.

“But I find comments made by Martin McGuinness sickening,” he said. “It is the belief of many people that Martin McGuinness and other senior republicans have knowledge of Enniskillen and they are refusing to come forward about it.”

Julie Hambleton’s sister Maxine was killed by the IRA in bombings in Birmingham which killed 21 people in 1974.

“What a politician does for one group, he should apply the same time and effort for all other groups in similar circumstances,” she said.

“There should not be a hierarchy of victims or a hierarchy of justice.

“One of our supporters wrote to the DUP, PUP, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams eight months ago. All responded except for Mr McGuinness and Mr Adams.”

She also claimed that Mr McGuinness had blocked tweets from their campaign on Twitter.

Sinn Fein replied that Mr McGuinness receives hundreds of tweets a day and finds it difficult to tell which ones are genuine. A spokesman added: “If he has blocked a genuine group he has no difficulty unblocking it. Martin Guinness has also made it clear repeatedly that he has no difficulty in meeting with any group that wishes to have dialogue with him.”

Meanwhile, Mr McGuinness is to deliver the keynote speech at a Foundation for Peace event in Warrington next week – 20 years after an IRA bomb in the city claimed the lives of Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball.