Campbell asks McGuinness about his IRA activities

DUP MLA Gregory Campbell has asked Martin McGuinness about the extent of his activity as Adjutant of the Londonderry Brigade of the Provisional IRA in the early 1970s.

The East Londonderry MLA asked the Deputy First Minister about his previous career during Assembly Questions at Stormont.

Mr McGuinness had been explaining what functions would pass from under the aegis of the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) to a new Department of Communities if and when such a Department gets up and running.

The senior Sinn Féin figure explained that “united communities” would be one of the functions transferring.

Mr Campbell interrupted to ask: “What contribution does the deputy First Minister believe that uniting the communities would deliver if he were to admit to all of the extent of activity that he engaged in when he was a Provisional IRA second-in-command in Londonderry?”

The Speaker, Mitchel McLaughlin intervened to state: “ It is a matter for the deputy First Minister whether he wishes to answer that.”

Mr McGuinness said: “I do not think that is relevant to the question before us.”

Providing further details of what functions will be transferred,the OFMDFM Mininister explained that the North West sites under OFMDFM control and Ilex would all become the responsibility of a new proposed Communities Minister.

The Social Investment Fund (SIF), which has also resulted in investment across the Londonderry and North West area will also be transferred.

Mr McGuinness stated: “The new Department will assume a range of OFMDFM functions in relation to the social investment fund, racial equality, united communities and good relations, disability and poverty, gender and sexual orientation and north-west sites and strategy.

“It will also assume sponsorship responsibilities for the Community Relations Council and Ilex, which are currently arm’slength bodies of OFMDFM.”