Belfast Telegraph

McGuinness: I never killed anyone

Presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness has denied ever killing anyone during his time in the IRA.

The Sinn Fein candidate in the race for the Aras also said he was not indirectly responsible for killings by the terrorist group.

Urging the media to make their peace with him, he insisted he had not run away from his past and had moved on to make peace with political opponents in the unionist parties in Northern Ireland.

He said: "I didn't say I never fired a gun - I was in the IRA. There were battles on the streets of Derry. I've never run away from that."

When asked if he had killed anyone, he answered no.

Mr McGuinness said: "I'm not going to sensationalise in interviews with something that could then be used to the detriment of the peace process and to the detriment of my colleagues within government. I have made my peace with unionist leaders. And I do think some people in the media down here, some elements... need to think about peacemaking and how they make their peace with me."

Mr McGuinness has faced repeated questions over his IRA past and whether he is suitable for the office of President. Environment Minister Phil Hogan said on Wednesday that he did not think it would be good for Ireland for Mr McGuinness to secure the high office, warning that he is carrying too much baggage.

Meanwhile, Senator David Norris is understood to be edging close to the 20-signature mark to secure a nomination to enter the race. The latest Oireachtas colleague to back him is Senator Mary Ann O'Brien, bringing his support base to 16 TDs and Senators.

If he fails to hit the target before next Wednesday, the option of going down the local authority route is also being explored, with a candidate needing the backing of four councils. Senator Norris has the support of Fingal County Council.

Later, a spokeswoman for Senator Eamonn Coghlan confirmed the former Olympic athlete has also signed nomination papers for his Seanad colleague, taking his support base to 17.

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