Saturday 16 December 2017

Martin McGuinness called ‘liar’ by murdered soldier’s son

Brian Hutton

PRESIDENTIAL candidate Martin McGuinness has been accused by the son of an Irish solider killed during an IRA shoot-out of being a liar.

David Kelly confronted the Sinn Fein MP and MLA during canvassing in Athlone, Co Westmeath, and also accused him of being on the IRA army council.

Mr Kelly's father Patrick Kelly, 35, was shot dead along with trainee garda Gary Sheehan, 23, at Derrada woods near Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, during the rescue of kidnapped supermarket tycoon Don Tidey in 1983.

"I want justice for my father," he told Mr McGuinness while clutching a picture of Private Kelly.

"I believe that you know the names of the killers of my father and I want you tell me who they are. You were on the army council of the IRA."

Mr McGuinness denied being on the IRA's army council or knowing the killers' names.

When challenged, Mr McGuinness said to Mr Kelly: "I appreciate that. I understand that, I fully sympathise with you."

Mr Kelly branded the presidential candidate "a liar" and vowed to wage a relentless campaign against Sinn Fein until he found out who was behind his father's killing.

"He (my father) was loyal to the Irish Republic and I'm loyal to him as a son, and I'm going to get justice for him," he said.

Later, Mr Kelly said he will set up a website and launch a campaign for justice for both his father and Mr Sheehan, and would follow Mr McGuinness around the country if he has to.

"My mother's life was ruined by the loss of her husband. She was never the same again," he added.

Mr McGuinness insisted he had worked for years to bring peace to Northern Ireland and said he sympathised with Mr Kelly and his family.

Meanwhile, candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon threatened to pull out of the presidential race if she continues to be questioned about her US citizenship.

Ms Scallon attacked the media for pursuing the revelations and said it was "too hurtful" to go over the details because they emerged from court records related to a family dispute.

"I will not answer any more questions about this, it's too hurtful," she said.

"I spoke to my sister last night and I will not have my family dragged across this presidential election, or I will step out of it," she said.

Ms Scallon said she became a US citizen in October 1999 and would be prepared to renounce it if necessary on being elected to the Aras or if the people of Ireland wished her to do so.

But she insisted it was not a disadvantage and could even work in Ireland's favour.

Ms Scallon also hit out about being "grilled" by the media about what she said were divisive issues related to her views as a practising Catholic.

Citing constitutional protections of the unborn and marriage between a man and a woman, she said she was more in tune with the Constitution than the other candidates.

"Do not discriminate against me because I am a Catholic," she said during an interview on RTE Radio One's Today with Pat Kenny.

"I'm sick and tired of being grilled on issues where in fact I am perfectly in tune with the Constitution."

Ms Scallon said there was an anti-Catholic agenda and that she would always respect the will of the people.

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