Ministers always knew McGuinness did not fire first shot, Bloody Sunday inquiry told

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Martin McGuinness did not fire the shot that precipitated the Bloody Sunday carnage and the British Government has always known that was the case, a former army intelligence agent said yesterday.

Martin McGuinness did not fire the shot that precipitated the Bloody Sunday carnage and the British Government has always known that was the case, a former army intelligence agent said yesterday.

The agent, who uses the pseudonym Martin Ingram, told the Saville inquiry that the man who is now Sinn Fein's chief negotiator was under surveillance in Londonderry on the day, and there was no evidence of him using a weapon.Mr Ingram directly contradicted the allegation of an MI5 agent, codenamed Infliction, that Mr McGuinness fired the first shot during the republican march on 30 January 1972. Fourteen civilians were shot dead by British troops.

The former soldier also told the inquiry at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster that the Army had infiltrated the republican movement and had up to 20 agents to act as its "eyes and ears" in the march. Their duties included taking photographs of events or individuals who were of interest to the security forces, he said.

Mr Ingram served with the Army's highly secret Force Research Unit, which ran spies including the IRA gunman Alfredo Scappaticci, codenamed "Stakeknife".

At an inquiry by Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, into claims of collusion between the security forces and paramilitaries, Mr Ingram threatened to expose official subterfuge at the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, has issued a Public Interest Immunity certificate preventing the Saville tribunal from asking Mr Ingram about secret intelligence matters.

Mr Ingram told the inquiry he was "100 per cent sure" he saw surveillance reports that cleared Mr McGuinness. He also said intelligence showed the IRA did not seek an armed confrontation at the march.

Comments