Martin McGuinness: “but I don’t recall saying that.”

During the campaign to become President of Ireland, the Sinn Féin candidate, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA, has repeatedly claimed that

“As a republican leader I have never and would never stand over attacks on the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces”

In a report today, he’s again quoted as saying

“I would not support anybody under any circumstances attacking the gardai or the Defence Forces…”

So it’s worth noting Martin McGuinness’ response on Thursday’s RTÉ’s Six One News, when confronted with evidence that contradicts his claim.  From Saturday’s Irish News

“If I did say that it was totally and absolutely wrong to say that at the time but I don’t recall saying that.”

Here’s a fuller transcript of the exchange from the relevant section of the Six One News interview [from about 26mins to 28mins into the programme].

RTÉ’s Bryan Dobson (BD):  “What you’ve said is that you don’t stand over, and you’ve never stood over, the killing of members of our Defence Forces or Garda by the IRA.”

Martin McGuinness (MMcG):  “Absolutely.  And I unreservedly condemn any attacks on the gardaí or any members of the Defence Forces.  And, in fact, I had two cousins who were members of the gardaí and under no circumstances would I support any attack on any of the Defence Forces.  And, in fact, during the course of my campaign I’ve met quite a number of gardaí and members of the Irish Army who tell me that they’re going to vote for me in this election.”

BD:  “You’ve spoken about this before.  You were speaking about it way back in 1985.  In an interview with Michael O’Higgins in Hot Press magazine.  And you said that from a Sinn Féin point of view it would be wrong for the IRA to involve themselves in a situation where they were, where the result was death of members of the Gardaí or, what you described as, members of the “Free State Army”.

Then you were asked, “So the Gardaí patrolling the border are in no danger of attack?”.  And your reply, Mr McGuinness, “Except in circumstances, like in Ballinamore, where IRA volunteers felt they were going to be shot dead and were defending themselves against armed Gardaí and soldiers.” [added emphasis]

MMcG:  “Well I don’t recall that, that interview.  But I have made my position absolutely clear.  I am totally and absolutely opposed to any attacks on the Gardaí or any members of the Defence Forces.”

BD:  “Well is it fair to say that on this occasion you were standing over the killing of members of the Gardaí and Defence Forces?”

MM:  “No, I have never done that.  I have never done that in the past.”

BD:  “You said it was self-defence.”

MMcG:  “Well, I don’t even recall that interview.  I undoubtedly gave an interview, but whether or not…”

BD:  “We checked with Michael O’Higgins.  He’s now a senior counsel, he’s now a barrister, and he remembers the interview, and he says that this is indeed a transcript of what was said.”

MMcG:  “Well I don’t recall saying that and, if I did say that, it was totally and absolutely wrong to say that at the time, but I don’t recall saying that.”

The Ballinamore incident he was referring to in the 1985 interview was when Pte Patrick Kelly, the father of David Kelly, and Gary Sheehan, a Garda trainee from Co Monaghan, were killed by the Provisional IRA gang who were holding the kidnapped businessman Don Tidey.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Nunoftheabove

    It matters little now and even if he did ‘truth’ on this specific issue who would actually wholeheartedly believe him ?

    Not I, said the cat.

  • Cynic2

    Bryan Dobson clearly needs re-education. Its shocking that Martin shouldn’t be alleged not to have told the truth.

  • Henry94

    Are we all supposed to remember and stand over everything we said in 1985? According to both Tim Pat Coogan and J. Boyer Bell in a 1948 General Army Convention issued General Order No. 8 prohibiting “any armed action whatsoever” against the forces of the Republic of Ireland”

  • Turgon

    “Are we all supposed to remember and stand over everything we said in 1985?”

    If it is over something as serious as the killing of a soldier and police officer and whether or not that was murder the answer is assuredly yes. The more so if the person answering those questions is seeking to become head of state of that country.

  • dwatch

    “Are we all supposed to remember and stand over everything we said in 1985?”

    Unfortunately you have to if you are standing as a candidate for President of Ireland. M MG should retire after this election and go and fish for trout in Co Donegal. The writing is now on the wall, he has no chance of becoming President.

  • Pete Baker


    “Are we all supposed to remember and stand over everything we said in 1985?”

    That’s missing the point somewhat.

    McGuinness is campaigning on a lie. Not the only one, admittedly, and not for the first time, but a significant one in the circumstances.

    At best it could be said that he lacks sufficient self-knowledge and self-awareness to know that, actually, he would stand over, and has stood over, attacks on the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces.

    And with it having been identified as a lie, he really should stop using that line.

  • lamhdearg

    What do the sunday papers say, regarding polls, (to tight to buy them).

  • michael-mcivor

    The sunday independent today called on all the decent people to make sure they vote to stop Martin McGuinness
    becoming president- the paper also wrote that people should not believe the polls-

    Another paper getting paranoid-

  • 241934 john brennan

    Mr McGuinness is consistent. He condemns murder, but never condemns named Provo killers. To be fair to him his interviewers tend to keep to generalities – unlike Mr Kelly and Mre McCabe

  • sherdy

    Martin is in danger of doing himself serious physical damage with all these politically motivated gyrations. If he stuck by his guns, no, I mean his former principles, he might not get many more votes, but he might gain some respect.

  • ranger1640

    Seems wee Marty has been ‘hoist with his own petar’.

  • ranger1640

    Seems wee Marty has been ‘hoist with his own petard’.

    Sorry typo.

  • Mary Anna

    Lets call a spade a spade – he is the biggest black mailer in the Ireland . he would sell his own granny for a vote and power over everyone, he would not know the truth if it hit him on the back end. A vote for martin is a vote to tarnish our beautiful Ireland. And the baggage that he brings with himfrom his past, Ireland could never be at peace! No one but the DUP would put up with the likes of him and Adams. But money talks without out the ££££££££££££££££££ and half crown – there would be no peace . Money matters!

  • Cynic2

    I am still shocked. Martin remembers that he didn’t say it but cannot remember that he did

  • lamhdearg

    ?is did he say “but I don’t recall saying that.” in a ronnie flanagan voice.

  • iluvni

    Has this bullshit artist been receiving his wages from Stormont for the last 5 or 6 weeks?

  • lamhdearg

    johns been clocking him in.

  • It’s a lot easier for a southern based journalist to ask the killer questions , and what’s more keep asking them, than it is for a local who can maybe ask the question and if repeated find him or herself excluded from the circus.

    Far better for the local journalist to take a safe strategic view and ask the questions that accept the realpolitik and further the peace process, unconsciously apeing Tony and Bertie et al, after all they still get good copy and to all public intents and purposes still preserve their journalistic ethics.

  • I’ve just re-read my last post and apologise unreservedly to Martin O’Hagan’s family and friends, and others who share his estimable values.

  • fordprefect

    It’s still baffling me why SF stood MMcG in the first place (probably because he insisted on it, because of his ego!). What kind of advisors do SF have? Didn’t they and MMcG see the way Adams was treated? Did McG really think he would have been welcomed with open arms in the 26 counties? As someone on another blog commented: MMcG is like a pathetic down and out that would dance to anyone’s tune for a few pennies for a bit of power. Personally, I’m glad he gets put on the spot at every turn, as the saying goes: Lay down with dogs…

  • Mary Anna

    Martin mc Guinness has been getting full wages from Stormont while on this presidential campaign. He says that he is a peoples president haaaaaaa this is a laugh and a half. Money is coming out of his ears Armani suits war is big business money is his empire! He is a joke. He never give a toss about the dead, why in the name of god would he care about the living. He says that he is on a minimum wage, I do not believe it. It is hard to prove, but i would not trust him with my dog.

  • Peckerhead

    They’d have had a much easier ride if they’d run Mary Lou or Ó Caoláin.

  • ranger1640

    I know there are a lot of strong contenders for contributor of the year on Slugger, but I want to give my vote to Mary Anna.

    How refreshing for a contributor on here to tell it like it is. And for her honesty she gets not only a yellow but a red as well.

    Well done Mary Anna contributor of the year.

  • iluvni

    Well said, Ranger1640.

  • Pete Baker: “McGuinness is campaigning on a lie.”

    Mary Anna: “he would not know the truth if it hit him on the back end.”

    Pete and Mary Anna are basically saying the same thing; Mary Anna has taken the colloquial route.

  • fordprefect

    Could someone please explain to me how/why Mary Anna got a yellow and red card?

  • Cynic2

    Could someone please explain to me how/why Mary Anna got a yellow and red card?

    Lesse Majestie?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Because she’s a simple-minded fool ? I have a feeling she’s actually Alan Maskey’s stepmother.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “A vote for martin is a vote to tarnish our beautiful Ireland.”

    Ma’am, there’s quite enough tarnish to go around.

  • fordprefect

    How is she a simple minded fool? Surely she has the right to express her opinion about MMcG.
    Yep, you’re right, there is enough “tarnish” to go round. Looking at that shower a while ago on RTE I really think the office of “president” should be abolished.

  • Nunoftheabove


    Indeed she does. Doesn’t necessarily mean she isn’t a simple-minded fool though. I’m not saying she is, merely broaching the possibility – putting it out there.