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Enniskillen victim's son angered over claim NIO prevented Martin McGuinness' questioning

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 10/09/2015

Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness
Kenny Donaldson
Bloodshed and carnage in Enniskillen after the IRA bombed a remembrance service in 1987
Bloodshed and carnage in Enniskillen after the IRA bombed a remembrance service in 1987

A man who lost his father in the Enniskillen bombing has hit out after claims the Government blocked a senior police investigator from questioning Martin McGuinness about the atrocity.

The extraordinary allegation was made by a victims' campaigner during an appearance before a committee of MPs.

Eleven people died when a no-warning IRA bomb exploded on Remembrance Sunday in 1987.

A 12th victim passed away in hospital 13 years later, having never woken from a coma.

Kenny Donaldson said he had been told by a senior member of the now-defunct Historical Enquiries Team (HET) that investigators wanted to question Mr McGuinness about the bombing.

However, he told MPs the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) advised that it "would not be a good idea". The remarks came during a meeting of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster.

It is examining the Government's attempts to secure compensation for victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism.

Mr Donaldson said the IRA was "quite content" to be "subcontractors" for Colonel Gaddafi's campaign of terror.

"The reality is Enniskillen was the first significant atrocity where that was being put to the test," he said. "The individuals who were involved in that - this goes right to the heart of all of this.

"We have also been advised by a senior former HET investigator that he had cause to wish to bring in the Deputy First Minister for questioning in regards to that atrocity. He was prevented from doing so. The NIO advised that that would not be a good idea, and it didn't happen."

A Sinn Fein spokesman said Mr McGuinness "totally rejects" the claims. "Martin McGuinness totally rejects this attempt based on unsubstantiated hearsay to link him to the Enniskillen bombing," he said.

Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel was killed in the bombing, said he was not surprised.

"I have said in the past that McGuinness has knowledge of Enniskillen," he said.

"If there is evidence there that this man should have been questioned, then that should have happened, no matter who he was.

"It is one step too far that the government can just sweep this under the carpet. Everybody deserves to get truth and justice."

Nobody has ever been convicted for the Enniskillen bomb. Mr Gault said he had little faith in the justice system. "Will I ever get justice? I don't think I will," he added. "The HET started looking into Enniskillen in 2005. That's 10 years ago, and we have never received anything from the report.

"It leaves you wondering - is there something there they don't want to come out?"

Aileen Quinton, whose 72-year-old mother Alberta died at Enniskillen, said she felt let down by the Government.

"I don't think everything that could be done to bring those responsible for Enniskillen to justice has been done," she said.

"I have always believed that those responsible have been protected.

"I am quite prepared for victims to come second as long as justice comes first. I don't like coming second to terrorists."

Previously, Mr McGuinness said he felt ashamed when attacks such as the Enniskillen bombing were carried out in the name of Irish republicanism.

Asked about Enniskillen in 2011, Mr McGuinness said: "I feel ashamed when incidents like that happened." He also described the attack as "atrocious".

In 2008, a BBC documentary claimed Mr McGuinness knew of the plans to bomb Enniskillen.

In 'Age of Terror: 10 Days of Terror', journalist Peter Taylor said the IRA's Northern Command - which he alleged was led by Mr McGuinness - knew about the bombing beforehand but did nothing to prevent it.

Mr McGuinness described Mr Taylor's claims as "completely false".

An NIO spokesperson said: "The operational independence of the police in conducting investigations is fundamental to the rule of law.

"The NIO does not interfere in operational decision-making."

The PSNI did not respond to requests for comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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