Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is willing to co-operate in a historical killing case which took place in Derry in 1972.
A Belfast court heard this afternoon that the Sinn Fein leader, who has previously admitted being a senior figure within the IRA in Derry at the time, will assist in whatever way he can in relation to the inquest of the shooting dead of 19-year-old Seamus Bradley.
Mr Bradley,an IRA member, was shot by the British Army during Operation Motorman in the early hours of July 31, 1972. The Bradley family have always maintained that whilst he was in British Army captivity the teenager was shot again and tortured.
A process of assessing the fitness of 56 outstanding ‘Troubles’ related cases to proceed to inquest began at Laganside Court Complex on Monday. These Preliminary Hearing’s are being heard by Judge Weir.
During this morning’s proceedings in relation to the death of Seamus Bradley it was heard that the deceased’s next of kin, Daniel Bradley had instructed his legal counsel to call Mr McGuinness as a witness to the Inquest on his brother’s killing 43 years ago.
During the Saville Inquiry, Mr McGuinness had stated that he was Adjutant or second-in-command of the Provisional IRA in Derry when Bloody Sunday happened in January, 1972. Operation Motorman took place almost six months later. The Deputy First Minister also stated that he left the IRA in 1974.
Prior to today’s hearing, legal counsel for Mr McGuinness had indicated their willingness to appear and give a statement on his position in relation to the forthcoming inquest.
And, in court the Sinn Fein politician’s lawyer Padraig O’Muirigh said that: “Mr McGuinness was willing to co-operate and assist the Bradley family and was also willing to take guidance from the court as to whether this would take the form of a statement or by an appearance.”
On direction from Justice Weir, Mr O’Muirigh agreed to set about a process of meeting with the Coroner’s Service on how best to take Mr McGuinness’ position forward and he said he was confident this process could be completed within weeks.