Republican News · Thursday 18 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

gry Maginnis caught on camera

Campaigners for Robert Hamill were furious on Monday after the University of North London released a video of an irate Ken Maginnis engaged in an argument with members of the audience during a talk given by him at a political meeting in February this year.

The audience erupted in anger when Maginnis, who is a paid lobbyist for the Police Federation in the House of Commons, claimed during a question and answer session that the RUC had ``rescued'' Robert Hamill from a loyalist mob. Robert, he said, had subsequently died only because of a damaged bone behind his eye and had been ``chatting and talking'' in hospital. When he was challenged on these remarks by members of the audience, who pointed out that Robert never regained consciousness, Maginnis engaged in a shouting match and threatened to walk out before being mollified by the organisers.

Maginnis' inability to control his temper is nothing new - he had a stand-up row with the audience in the same venue in 1998 (when he responded to a question about why he did not want a united Ireland with ``I just don't, that's all''.) and, notoriously, threw an Irish Tricolour into the Thames on St Patrick's Day two years ago in a fit of rage when he found it attached to the House of Commons railings. What makes this occasion different is that it concerns Maginnis' stated wish to completely exonerate the RUC. He continues to claim to have investigated the case himself and has dismissed the Robert Hamill family campaign for an independent inquiry into his death.

Jeremy Hardy, Guardian columnist and member of the Robert Hamill campaign, condemned Maginnis' remarks, saying: ``This is a man who claims to know a lot about the Hamill case. And then he portrays his complete ignorance by talking about the thin bone behind Robert's eye. He is making this up as he goes along. He doesn't know anything about it; he doesn't want to know anything about it. He wants the thing to be whitewashed.''

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