McGuinness claims British directing groups
McGuinness claims British directing groups

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said he believes British military intelligence is directing some republican activities.

The Sinn Féin MP said he believed the intelligence services allowed some within breakaway republican groups to carry out operations in return for information.

“Information -- that is what they live and thrive on,” Mr McGuiness said.

“It is to get as much information about politicians and political activists within the community.”

Mr McGuinness said the breakawway traditionalist republicans could not hope to achieve the successes of the Provisional IRA in the 1970s and 1980s.

Stressing that he did not like the term “dissident republican”, he said attacks by “micro republican groups” were unacceptable.

“I think their actions are violent expressions of their opposition to the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement and power sharing,” he said.

He said he was not aware of any Catholics raising concerns about careers in the PSNI following recent attacks.

Mr McGuinness said he knew the Derry police officer shot by the so-called ‘Real IRA’ in the city in November personally but did not know that he was a police officer.

“I was born and reared just 50 yards from his house [in the Bogside]. I know what type of a person he is and his personality. He is very likeable and made a decision to join the PSNI.

“He did so because he believed it was his contribution to the peace process,” Mr McGuinness said.

“Those who are opposed to me will not listen to me.

“But my message to republicans who support Sinn Féin is that the successful running of power sharing and all-Ireland institutions can be the path to a peaceful reunification of Ireland.

“Over the next decade many important things can happen.”

Pointing to the influence of the intelligence services, Mr McGuinness highlighted the case of Paddy Murray.

A former Provisional IRA prisoner, Murray went missing from his home in October, raising concerns that he had gone into police protective custody as an informer. Murray was a prominent republican hardliner in the Antrim area, especially in the town’s Rathenraw estate.

Mr McGuinness said Murray had been hostile to the Sinn Féin leadership and “fermented strife and division” in the Antrim and Ballymena areas.

“[British Secretary] Shaun Woodward sat speechless when I challenged him about elements within British security services,” he said.

Mr McGuinness said he believed Murray was working as an agent but he did not know which branch of the security services he was working for.

“The Murray case stinks to the high heavens at a time when many are working hard for the peace process. It is a serious or even grave situation,” he said.

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© 2007 Irish Republican News