04/11/2003

McGuinness tells Saville Inquiry of IRA past

Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness has informed the Saville Inquiry that at the time of Bloody Sunday he was the adjutant and within two weeks of the incident he was the head of the Provisional IRA in Derry.

Earlier Mr McGuinness was warned by Lord Saville that he faced accusations that he had something to hide when he refused to answer specific questions. The Inquiry was adjourned briefly to allow Mr McGuinness time to consult with his legal team and later Lord Saville reminded Mr McGuinness that he had immunity from prosecution.

Mr McGuinness had been asked about his membership of the Official IRA, when he became Commanding Officer of the Provisional IRA in Derry, and whether Sean Keenan had been explosives officer.

Lord Saville of Newdigate chairing the session said that he could not understand why Mr McGuinness would not answer the questions when he had stated that he wanted to get to the full truth.

He said the if Mr McGuinness failed to answer these questions then he would deprive the Inquiry of opportunity to discover the "full facts and matter relating to Bloody Sunday" and it would be suggested that he had something to hide.

Refuting testimony from an earlier witness, Paddy Ward, who had claimed that Mr McGuinness was the leader of the IRA in Derry on Bloody Sunday and had been responsible for organising violence on the day, Mr McGuinness described Mr Ward as a "fantasist" and an informer who had been used by the British military establishment.

The Saville Inquiry, established in 1998 by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is expected to conclude its evidence taking phase by Christmas this year.

On Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972, during a civil rights march in Derry 13 people were shot dead and another person fatally injured.

(SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 November 2018
Church-goers Pelted With Fireworks On Remembrance Sunday
People attending church on Remembrance Sunday, 11 November, were pelted with fireworks before responding police were also attacked in an incident branded as "senseless and shameful". It happened at a church on Union Street in Magherafelt on Sunday evening.
28 June 2018
Belfast City Marathon To Be Run On A Sunday
Belfast City Marathon will take place on a Sunday in 2019, after Belfast City Council agreed to back recommended changes to the event. Councillors on the City Growth and Regeneration Committee backed changing the day of the race at a meeting on Wednesday night, where they also heard proposals on new routes, including a city-wide circuit.
07 August 2018
Woman Sexually Assaulted In Co Down
An investigation has been launched after a woman was sexually assaulted in Co Down. The attack happened in the Merrion Avenue area of Newcastle at around 2.30am on Sunday, 05 August. Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
13 July 2018
Man's Body Recovered From River Foyle
The body of a man has been recovered from the River Foyle in L'Derry. It is believed the man entered the water on Sunday night, 08 July. His death is not being treated as suspicious. A PSNI spokesperson said: "I'm sure you will join me and my team in sending your thoughts to the family and friends at this time.
29 June 2018
Fresh Appeal Launched For Information On Lisa Dorrain Murder
The PSNI have launched a fresh appeal for information on the murder of Bangor woman Lisa Dorrain, with police saying they believe she knew her killer. Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, from the Serious Crime Branch, said the 25-year-old was murdered after attending a party in Ballyhalbert Caravan Park in February 2005.