Complaint to Ombudsman over police ‘failure to quiz McGuinness’

Mr McGuinness, pictured in 1982.
Mr McGuinness, pictured in 1982.

A DUP MP has complained to the Police Ombudsman about what he alleges is a PSNI failure to act over the IRA activities of former paramilitary Martin McGuinness.

Gregory Campbell said he had taken the step because he had received no confirmation that police intend to quiz the top Sinn Fein figure over matters linked to the period surrounding Bloody Sunday.

Sinn Feins Martin McGuinness

Sinn Feins Martin McGuinness

A statement from the DUP said that the move followed correspondence spanning more than two years between Mr Campbell and the PSNI, which it said had resulted in “no action” from the police.

Fourteen people died after paratroopers opened fire on crowds in Londonderry on January 30, 1972.

The Saville Inquiry into the incident found that the killings had been “unjustifiable”.

No-one has been convicted in relation to the atrocity.

During the Saville Inquiry, Mr McGuinness had admitted to being second-in-command of the IRA in the city at the time.

Mr Campbell accused the police of not carrying out “what most people would regard as their impartial duty” by questioning him, and said that he will now await a response from the ombudsman.

The PSNI said that the investigation into Bloody Sunday is ongoing.

Sinn Fein, meanwhile, dismissed Mr Campbell’s move as a “stunt”.

In a statement, Mr Campbell said questioning of soldiers had been under way for some time in relation to “what has been termed ‘Bloody Sunday’”.

He added: “At the time of the report and repeatedly since, I have publicly asked what questioning the police plan to undertake regarding the actions of people other than soldiers in and around that time, given the fact that the prolonged questioning of soldiers, according to the police, appears now to have reached a conclusion.

“The Saville Report indicated that Martin McGuinness ‘probably’ was in possession of a submachine gun around that time.

“He said at the Saville Inquiry that he was the second-in-command of the IRA in Londonderry at the time.

“Two police officers were murdered by the IRA in the vicinity three days before the march in January 1972...

“For more than two years now, (since June 2014) I have been corresponding with the police at senior command level (including the chief constable) to ascertain when they plan to question Mr McGuinness about terrorist activities at that time, given their prolonged questioning of soldiers who were stationed in Londonderry at the same time.

“I have received no confirmation after 26 months that they intend to proceed to question him.”

Mr Campbell said that this lack of confirmation meant he had been “left with no option but to write to the Policing Ombudsman with a formal complaint against the police in not carrying out what most people would regard as their impartial duty to question an identified person who has admitted being a senior member of the Provisional IRA”.

He concluded: “I, and many others, will now await the response from the Policing Ombudsman.”

The PSNI responded by stating: “As a complaint has been made to the office of the Police Ombudsman it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

When it comes to the overall investigation, the PSNI added: “Police have concluded interviews with former military personnel and are in the process of compiling a report for the PPS.

“The police investigation into the events on Bloody Sunday is continuing.”

Raymond McCartney, Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, said: “Gregory Campbell’s latest stunt is only aimed to distract from the fact that 14 innocent civilians were murdered by the British Parachute regiment and 13 others injured on that day.

“Forty-four years later it is clear that the names of those responsible are known yet no one has been charged.

“Gregory would be better served using his influence to ensure the British soldiers and those who commanded them assist, in full, the PSNI investigation.

“Mr Campbell’s latest outburst is indicative of him striving to make himself relevant from his retirement home at Westminster.”