McGuinness repeats denial he lured IRA 'informer' to death


SINN FÉIN STATEMENT:SINN FÉIN’S presidential candidate Martin McGuinness has repeated his denial that he lured IRA “informer’’ Frank Hegarty back to Derry to his death in 1986.

A Sinn Féin statement said Mr McGuinness had already rejected the allegations as completely untrue.

“He understands the very deep hurt of the Hegarty family and their need for truth and justice,’’ the statement added.

The party was responding to extensive coverage of the matter in yesterday’s Irish Mail on Sunday, featuring a front page photograph of Mr Hegarty’s body on a country road taken from an ITV Cook Reportprogramme screened in the 1990s.

The article said that the family of Mr Hegarty, “shot in the head by the IRA for ‘informing’ have voiced their horror at the prospect of Martin McGuinness becoming President of Ireland’’.

The family claimed “Mr McGuinness inveigled his way into their home with promises that Frank would not be harmed if he came home to Derry and met the IRA’’.

The family was quoted as claiming “that beneath the Sinn Féin presidential candidate’s charming manner lay a ruthless, deceitful man”.

The Sinn Féin statement said Mr McGuinness had already stated he had left the IRA in the 1970s, but had engaged with them after that with a view to bringing about peace and he had succeeded.

“Martin stands for office on his record as a politician, a peacemaker, a patriot and a republican,” it added.

“Some will judge him on his past, some will judge him on his present and some will judge him on what he promises to achieve in the future.”

The statement said that Mr McGuinness had been part of bringing peace to the North and across Ireland, part of bringing reconciliation to the Six Counties.

“He has stood against those who would drag us back to the past,’’ it added.

“Our country’s history is replete with journeys like Martin’s. De Valera, Aiken, Lemass, Collins, Cosgrave and MacBride, to name a few, all travelled historic journeys also.’’

Mr McGuinness told the Derry Journal in 2003 that he had, in fact, advised a member of the family that Mr Hegarty should not meet with the IRA.