Belfast Telegraph

McGuinness confronted over shooting

Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness has told the son of an Irish solider killed during an IRA shoot-out that he did not know the identity of the killers.

David Kelly confronted the Sinn Fein MP and MLA during canvassing in Athlone, Co Westmeath, and accused him of being on the IRA army council and of being a liar.

Mr Kelly's father Patrick Kelly, 35, was shot dead along with trainee garda Gary Sheehan, 23, at Derrada woods near Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, during the rescue of kidnapped supermarket tycoon Don Tidey in 1983.

"I want justice for my father," he told Mr McGuinness while clutching a picture of Private Kelly. "I believe that you know the names of the killers of my father and I want you tell me who they are. You were on the army council of the IRA."

Mr McGuinness denied being on the IRA's army council or knowing the killers' names.

When challenged, Mr McGuinness said to Mr Kelly: "I appreciate that. I understand that, I fully sympathise with you."

Mr Kelly branded the presidential candidate "a liar" and vowed to wage a relentless campaign against Sinn Fein until he found out who was behind his father's killing.

"He (my father) was loyal to the Irish Republic and I'm loyal to him as a son, and I'm going to get justice for him," he said.

Later, at a rally in Trim, Co Meath, Mr McGuinness said he wants to expand the role of the president to allow for national reconciliation which deals with the pain and hurt caused by the Troubles.

"I expressed my sympathy to Private Kelly's family on the death of their father," he said. "As someone who has lost friends and neighbours in tragic and violent circumstances I am deeply conscious of the deep hurt and pain that has been caused as a result of the conflict."

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