‘McGuinness will never tell about my sister’s murder’

UDR Greenfinch Heather Kerrigan was killed in an IRA landmine attack while on foot patrol on July 14, 1978, at Castlederg.
UDR Greenfinch Heather Kerrigan was killed in an IRA landmine attack while on foot patrol on July 14, 1978, at Castlederg.

A man who believes Martin McGuinness has knowledge about the IRA operation which killed his sister says he is sceptical about the Deputy First Minister’s promise to open up about his role in the Troubles.

David Kerrigan was leading the UDR patrol in which his sister, Greenfinch Heather Kerrigan, was killed by a land mine at Castlederg in 1978.

Mr Kerrigan issued a call at the weekend for Mr McGuinness to “come clean” about what he knew of the attack, saying the location of the murder would have come under the jurisdiction of the self-confessed former IRA commander.

But Mr McGuinness, who says he left the IRA in 1974, responded that he has been wrongly linked to all kinds of incidents since he gave evidence to the Bloody Sunday Saville inquiry in 2003.

“As a result of my decision to give evidence to the Saville inquiry... some people have wrong and with no basis attempted to attribute to me all kinds of incidents in which I had no involvement,” he told the Sunday Life.

At the end of August Mr McGuinness told Sky News he was demanding the UK open up its files about the Troubles – and in exchange said he would “deal” with any cases where “allegations” are levelled against him.

But Mr Kerrigan said he still believes Mr McGuinness must have known about his sister’s murder, and he has no faith that the senior Sinn Fein man will ever open up about his past.

“I would still stand by what I said,” Mr Kerrigan told the News Letter.

“We were all in the security forces for a long time.

“We would have known that nothing happens on the Tyrone-Donegal border and he [Mr McGuinness] would not know about it. He needs to come clean.”

Asked what trust he would place on the promises Mr McGuinness made in August, Mr Kerrigan said: “I would have no great confidence in him coming clean.”

He said of his sister: “She was a jolly 20 year old girl, full of life and cut down in the prime of life.”

Nobody was ever charged with her murder.

Campaigner Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was murdered by the IRA three months before Ms Kerrigan, said that the family deserved truth and justice.

“Mr McGuinness and other senior politicians who were members of illegal organisations must lead by example and show victims they are serious when they say that they will ‘deal with’ allegations about their past,” she said.