NIO and PSNI still offer ‘no denial’ on McGuinness probe

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness

Two days after the claim was made, the PSNI and Northern Ireland Office had still not denied stopping Martin McGuinness being questioned in relation to the Enniskillen bomb, victims have said.

On Wednesday, Innocent Victims United spokesman Kenny Donaldson told MPs at Westminster that the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) had advised police that questioning the Martin McGuinness over the 1987 IRA atrocity “would not be a good idea”.

Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Picture By: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

He was speaking at an inquiry into Libya supplying weapons to the IRA.

Col Gaddafi’s regime had supplied Semtex to the IRA for the bomb, which claimed 11 lives and injured many more.

Mr Donaldson told MPs on the NI Affairs Committee: “We have also been advised by a senior former [PSNI] Historical Enquiry Team investigator that he had cause to wish to bring in the Deputy First Minister regards the atrocity, He was prevented from doing so. The NIO advised that would not be a good idea and it did not happen.”

Yesterday the NIO said it had nothing to add to the statement it made on Wednesday, when it said it “strongly rebuked” the claims.

“The operational independence of the police in conducting investigations is fundamental to the rule of law,” a spokeswoman said. “The NIO does not interfere in operational decision making.”

But Mr Donaldson insisted yesterday the NIO response was not a denial of his claims.

“This carefully-scripted response does not deny that advice was given to the Historical Enquiry Team/PSNI, around the request of a senior Historical Enquiry Team investigating officer, that Mr McGuinness be spoken to in respect of the events of the Enniskillen Poppy Day bomb,” he said.

“It is also noteworthy that the PSNI have offered no denial at this time to my claims.”

A PSNI spokesman said: “Detectives from the Legacy Investigation Branch met with representatives acting on behalf of the families recently and will be meeting with the families in the near future to provide them with an update in relation to the HET review of the investigation into the Enniskillen Poppy Day bomb. As such, it would be inappropriate to comment further publicly at this stage.”

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: “Martin McGuinness totally rejects this attempt based on unsubstantiated hearsay to link him to the Enniskillen bombing.”