Martin McGuinness has accused his enemies of trying to have him killed by claiming he was a British spy.
The Sinn Féin MP and former IRA commander has rubbished allegations he once worked for MI6 blamed unionist hardliners who, he said, want to wreck the Northern Irish peace process.
Just two months after top Sinn Féin official-turned British agent Denis Donaldson was shot dead by unknown assassins, the Mid Ulster MP insisted the intention was to set him up too.
He said: “I don’t have any illusions whatsoever that the people behind this are hoping that I will be killed.”
Mr McGuinness, the IRA’s second in command in Derry when British troops shot dead 13 civil rights marchers on Bloody Sunday in 1972, was outraged by the allegations made by a former British agent known by his pseudonym “Martin Ingram”.
But as all sides in Belfast attempt to meet the November deadline for getting the Stormont power-sharing administration back up and running, he vowed to get back into government with the Democratic Unionists.
“I was absolutely disgusted. I was very angry and I am still very angry. But the important thing is it hasn’t worked,” he told Irish radio.
“The amount of support I have received from all over Ireland is absolutely incredible. My family has been hurt and they like me are angry about it, but there isn`t anything we can do about it.”
Mr McGuinness added that his biggest concern from the spying allegations was its implications for Mr Paisley`s party.
“I`m not accusing all of the DUP of being involved in this. I am accusing a certain element within the DUP who are doing their damnedest to prevent an agreement.
“There are people within the DUP who can`t bring themselves to recognise that the future will be Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness in the Office of First and Deputy First Minister.
“My message to them is very clear. That’s the future, it’s really a matter of when they comes to terms with it.”