'McGuinness may appear at Bloody Sunday inquiry'

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A senior Sinn Fein figure today signalled that MP Martin McGuinness was willing to appear at the Bloody Sunday inquiry to answer allegations that he fired the shot which precipitated the killings.

Sinn Fein Chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said his party colleague had yet to be invited to the inquiry and would respond if he was.

Pressed on whether that meant Mr McGuinness would attend, Mr McLaughlin told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It would seem to me inconceivable that he would refuse to go."

However, Mr McLaughlin also poured scorn on the allegation which emerged yesterday.

He said: "This allegation emerges from an informer and it is dated 1992 - exactly 20 years after the event.

"We have an unnamed military source and clearly it is an attempt by military - who are destroying the evidence as this inquiry progresses - to create a diversion from the fact that the British Army murdered 14 people on the streets."

Mr McGuinness has also denied the claims saying they were "a pathetic fabrication".

The tribunal was told yesterday that Mr McGuinness - "widely reputed" to have been commander of the Provisional IRA in the city at the time - has so far refused to co-operate with the new inquiry.