Death threat made against Martin McGuinness

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The Independent Online

Sinn Fein members were today urged by their leaders to be vigilant after the latest death threat to a senior leadership figure.

Mid Ulster MP and party chief negotiator Martin McGuinness was warned yesterday by the RUC that a death threat had been made against him.

It had been phoned in to a Northern Ireland newsroom by an unknown organisation.

Mr McGuinness, the former Stormont education minister, was told of the threat half an hour before he appeared at a press conference in west Belfast.

He said: "It was made through a local newspaper by a previously unknown organisation. That's all I know at this stage.

He said he had "no idea" if the threat came from loyalist sources.

Sinn Fein's councillors in Belfast and Lisburn and Assembly member Dara O'Hagan have also had death threats issued against them in recent weeks by loyalists.

The latest death threat prompted party president Gerry Adams to warn of the need for republicans to be on their guard.

The West Belfast MP said: "I just want to in these times of twists and turns and ups and downs once again remind republicans and nationalists that there are opponents of this (peace) process out there and that we all need to be very, very careful as we continue to move forward."

* Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble should make full use of the seven days left to him to sell the decommissioning and devolution deal to his party, former cabinet colleague Brid Rodgers said today.

The SDLP Assembly member, who served as agriculture minister on the suspended power sharing executive, urged the UUP leader to approach the deal reached at Hillsborough positively.

With the Ulster Unionists' 860-member ruling council scheduled to meet next Saturday to consider whether to go back into the executive, the Upper Bann MLA said they should not waste "an unprecedented opportunity" to implement the Good Friday Agreement.