Thursday 19 September 2019

Film of McGuinness showing guns to children is 'chilling', says FF leader

Micheal Martin. Picture: Frank McGrath
Micheal Martin. Picture: Frank McGrath
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Footage of the late Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness showing guns to children has been described as "chilling".

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin made the remarks ahead of the broadcast of a documentary that includes the clip and another showing the preparation of a car bomb.

Mr Martin also accused Sinn Féin of seeking to "sanitise the past" and said he hopes the BBC series 'Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History' will "bring home the reality that there was a lot of cold-blooded killing and murder of innocent people that should never have happened".

Mr McGuinness, who died in 2017, admitted he was once a senior figure in the Provisional IRA. He was later involved in the peace process and ran as the Sinn Féin candidate for the presidency in 2011.

The documentary includes footage of an IRA bomb team putting the finishing touches to a car bomb which later blew up in the centre of Derry. Mr McGuinness is seen walking at the back of the car before it sets off.

The documentary also includes footage of Mr McGuinness in Derry sitting in a car handling a rifle and a revolver as children as young as eight years old peer through the open window. Mr Martin said he wants to watch the documentary in its entirety.

But he said: "It's quite chilling to see what transpired in that footage. There is nothing glamorous about war, about guns or bullets."

The documentary also includes claims that the late DUP leader Ian Paisley helped fund a loyalist terror campaign in the 1960s.

Intelligence reports linked Mr Paisley - who always denied any associations with the loyalist men of violence - to a number of organisations including the UVF.

Mr Martin said he would have to watch the programme before he could judge whether or not Mr Paisley had funded a terror group and had blood on his hands. He said it's "no secret" Mr Paisley was not constructive and incited tensions in the earlier phase of his career. He said both Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness held more extreme positions in the 1960s and 1970s than they did in later years.

He said he suggested that the documentary may be "a timely reminder that some dastardly deeds occurred on all sides".

Irish Independent

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