Ex-IRA commander: I never killed anyone

2011-09-22 20:48

Dublin -  Former Irish Republican Army (IRA) commander and Irish presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness said on Thursday he did not kill anyone while he was a member of one of the world's deadliest fighter groups.

McGuinness, whose entry into the race for the largely ceremonial position of Irish president has electrified the campaign, replied "No" when asked by a local radio reporter whether he had ever killed anyone or had been indirectly responsible for any deaths.

"I didn't say I never fired a gun. I was in the IRA and there were battles on the streets of Derry, I have never run away from that but I am not going to sensationalise in interviews something that could be used to the detriment of the peace process," McGuinness told Newstalk Radio.

The now defunct IRA is blamed for about half of the 3 600 people, many of them civilians, killed during three decades of sectarian conflict in British-controlled Northern Ireland.

McGuinness, who said previously that he left the IRA in 1974, played a central role in talks with the British government to end the conflict.

A landmark 1998 peace deal largely ended the violence and paved the way for a power-sharing government led by Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, and its former enemies in the pro-British unionist community.

McGuinness stood down as deputy first minister of the Belfast government to campaign for the presidential poll, which will be held on October 27.

Although a controversial figure in many quarters of the Republic of Ireland because of his past, McGuinness is also admired for his commitment to peace. Bookmakers Paddy Power has put him as the second-favourite to win behind the Labour party's candidate, Michael D Higgins.

McGuinness topped a poll on Wednesday of listeners to Ireland's top radio phone-in show, with over 6 000 people opting for him over 5 800 for Higgins.

While the role is chiefly ceremonial, Ireland's president has the right to refer legislation to the Supreme Court, presenting potential difficulties for Prime Minister Enda Kenny should McGuinness get elected.

Sinn Fein has criticised Kenny's coalition government and its adherence to the tough fiscal targets under an EU-IMF bailout.

Read more on:    ireland

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Before you embark on a fitness or training programme, set yourself clear and realistic long-term and short-term goals.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
The TRUTH about painkillers and exercise
WIN! Where were you when you last felt alive?
Watch: Fishing under ice

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on electronics!

Get mind blowing savings on top electronic products. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may be spending too much time organising and trying to control things to make sure everything is perfect instead of just...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.