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Martin McGuinness's son rubbishes US star Jane Fonda's claims over Bogside visit

Actress's claims raise eyebrows


American actress Jane Fonda

American actress Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda with Martin McGuinness

Jane Fonda with Martin McGuinness

American actress Jane Fonda

Martin McGuinness's son has rubbished claims by Oscar-winning American actress Jane Fonda that she was in their Derry home 44 years ago when a body was carried in and her husband dipped his fingers in the blood to show his son.

Fonda stunned viewers of RTE's Late Late Show on Friday night with her previously untold story, which she said unfolded in 1976.

But Fiachra McGuinness said her account was "fiction" and different from what had actually happened.

Fonda told host Ryan Tubridy that she and her late husband Tom Hayden, the Irish-American anti-war activist and civil rights campaigner, had actually been looking for Gerry Adams on their visit.

"But somebody directed us to Martin McGuinness's home. We were sitting in the living room when a body was carried in, bleeding a lot. It was the Troubles and it was sort of shocking," said the 82-year-old star of movies such as Klute and On Golden Pond, who added that the couple's son Troy, who was aged around six or seven, was with them.

"Tom put some of the blood on his fingers and said to Troy, 'Your forefathers, your forebearers, your people'," she explained.


Jane Fonda with Martin McGuinness

Jane Fonda with Martin McGuinness

Jane Fonda with Martin McGuinness

The recording of the down-the-line interview moved on without any elaboration from Fonda or any more questions from Tubridy. There were claims on social media that it had been edited and Fonda's blood-curdling tale came as a shock to most observers in Derry.

In 2017 McGuinness talked publicly about the visit, but there was no mention of any bodies. He said that he had returned from Sunday Mass to find the actress sitting in his kitchen with his wife and eldest child Aine.

The former IRA commander in Derry said he and his family showed the daughter of movie legend Henry Fonda and her family around the Bogside and then made them dinner.

"They stayed with us all day," said McGuinness, who added that Fonda clearly had an interest in the Troubles.

Reports said that McGuinness and Fonda became friends and that several months later she sent a large box of baby clothes on the birth of the former deputy First Minister's third child.

In 1981 Fonda lobbied Margaret Thatcher to end the republican hunger strikes in the Maze by reclassifying all the inmates as political prisoners.

Shortly after the Late Late Show interview was aired, Mr McGuinness's son Fiachra posted a tweet and a photograph taken during Fonda's visit.

His post said: "Jane Fonda telling a different story from the one that actually happened. Here she is happy enough with my father at his home."

Another tweet from him read: "Jane Fonda bringing a fiction movie to the Bogside in Derry."

Fiachra McGuinness also complained that little time had been devoted on the Late Late Show to the visit which Tubridy had heavily promoted.

Commentators have compared Fonda's account of her Bogside trip to claims by former US president Bill Clinton's wife Hillary that she came under sniper fire during a visit to Bosnia in 1996.

She said: "I remember landing under sniper fire. There was no greeting ceremony and we were basically told to run to our cars."

Several news channels in the US later broadcast footage of the First Lady's arrival, showing that there had been no such incident.

Mrs Clinton later admitted that she had made a mistake.

Sunday Life