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Sinn Fein deputy says IRA dissidents threatening to kill him

Sinn Fein deputy says IRA dissidents threatening to kill him

The deputy leader of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army-linked party planning a momentous shift this weekend to support the Northern Ireland police, said on Thursday that IRA dissidents may be planning to assassinate him.
Martin McGuinness, a veteran IRA commander, said police officers in his native Londonderry warned him on Wednesday night that IRA dissidents appeared to be tracking his movements and the risk to his life had "substantially increased."
McGuinness noted that police in December warned Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and the party's policing spokesman, Gerry Kelly, that they faced an assassination threat from IRA dissidents.
So far, no Sinn Fein official has been attacked.
The reported threats come as Sinn Fein leaders prepare to convene the party's members for a potentially historic conference on Sunday in Dublin. Adams, McGuinness and other leaders will ask members to vote to open normal relations with the Police Service of Northern Ireland _ an essential step to reviving a Catholic-Protestant government in the province.
Two splinter groups rejected the IRA's cease-fire in 1997, the Good Friday peace accord of 1998 that proposed power-sharing, and the IRA's 2005 decisions to disarm and announce a permanent end to its effort to end British rule in Northern Ireland by force.
The dissidents continue to mount occasional bomb and gun attacks, including on police officers and security bases, but have not killed anybody since 2002.
McGuinness said he was taking the police warnings seriously but added they "will only serve to strengthen our resolve."
McGuinness was scheduled to address a public debate on Sinn Fein's policing moves on Thursday night in Londonderry, the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. He said he planned to attend despite the apparent threat to his life.
He said the vast majority of IRA supporters would be disappointed "that so-called dissident republicans are targeting the Sinn Fein leadership in this way."
For decades, McGuinness and other Sinn Fein leaders have rejected the authority of the Northern Ireland police and have usually rejected their intelligence assessments. While other political leaders receive taxpayer-funded police bodyguards, Sinn Fein leaders have rejected the service on both ideological and practical grounds.


Updated : 2021-06-24 14:55 GMT+08:00