'Traitor McGuinness' – IRA
families fury at Sinn Fein presidential candidate
(Suzanne Breen, Sunday
Families of IRA men
executed by the SAS in Derry today accuse Martin
McGuinness of betrayal.
Two of the most respected
republican families in McGuinness's native city say
they're disgusted that he has "disowned" IRA members
who laid down their lives for the republican cause.
Martina Duffy, whose IRA
father Patsy died in a hail of SAS bullets, said:
"Martin McGuinness has abandoned the IRA and
criminalised its members as he desperately tries to
woo Southern voters in the presidential election.
"He says the Irish Army is
the only Oglaigh na hEireann he supports. It's a
pity, he didn't tell that years ago to the dozens of
volunteers in another Oglaigh na hEireann who now
lie dead in Derry city cemetery.
"They're in their graves
while he wants to live in luxury in Aras an
Duffy claimed IRA families
in McGuinness's own republican heartland in Derry
were horrified at the "u-turns" he was doing during
the election campaign.
She said McGuinness had "criminalised"
her father and other IRA martyrs in a desperate
attempt to get elected. "He should hang his head in
shame for what he's done," she added.
Patsy Duffy (50) was shot
dead by the SAS in 1978 as he checked an arms' dump
in a house in the Brandywell. "The SAS fired 36
bullets at him. He was shot in the back and the
side. He was unarmed but our family never complained
because, as an IRA volunteer, he knew the risks
involved," his daughter said.
Her father's jacket, shirt,
cardigan and trousers were riddled with bullet
holes. Duffy washed the blood out of them but
refused to part with the clothes. Today, they are
lovingly stored in her Derry home. "I keep them to
remind me what daddy went through for the IRA," she
She told the Sunday
World how McGuinness had attended her father's
wake and funeral. "He told us he was proud of IRA
men like my daddy. He saw the Oglaigh na hEireann my
father fought and died for as the one and only
Oglaigh na hEireann. He didn't even recognise, let
alone, respect the Free State Army.
"Now he's swearing
allegiance to them and singing their praises. He's
got 40 faces – a different one for everybody he
meets." And Martina Duffy added: "Martin McGuinness
has told voters he's ashamed of some IRA actions and
thinks they were murder.
"Well, genuine republicans
in Derry are ashamed of him. He's portraying himself
as Ireland's Nelson Mandela. He says he's a man of
peace and always was. Who does he think he's
kidding? It's a joke, a sick joke."
Accusing McGuinness of
treachery, Duffy said: "For decades, he stood at the
republican monument in Derry city cemetery giving
orations as IRA men were buried and vowing the war
would go on until there was a united Ireland.
"Hundreds of young men and
women in this city believed him and ended up in
graves themselves or the lucky ones were jailed. And
those prisoners came out to wrecked marriages,
children who grew up not knowing them, no jobs and
no chance of a job.
"McGuinness has left us to
cope with the wreckage of the war while he pursues
power and position. All he's out for is himself."
Duffy's mother struggled to
cope after her husband's death: "Mammy was left to
rear six wee children on her own. I'm glad she's
dead now because it would have broken her heart to
see Martin McGuinness do a u-turn and criminalise
his old comrades.
"It's not just IRA victims
who are furious at McGuinness – republicans like my
family are just as angry." Duffy denounced the Sinn
Féin presidential candidate for saying he'd meet
Prince Charles, commander-in-chief of the parachute
regiment which killed 14 civilians on Bloody Sunday.
"It's like a bad dream," she said.
She added that she now
respected John Hume far more than McGuinness:
"People, including my mother, protested outside John
Hume's house years ago for saying a lot less
anti-republican things than Martin McGuinness has
"John Hume is a man of
principle. I don't agree with his politics but he
stayed true to himself and his beliefs – he didn't
change them when it became opportune."
Danny McBrearty, whose IRA
brother George was killed in May 1981 by the SAS in
Derry, said: "Martin McGuinness was at George's
funeral and wake. Had he said then that my brother
was wrong and that the IRA wasn't Oglaigh na
hEireann, he'd have been thrown out of our house."
George McBrearty is widely
regarded as being one of the IRA's most active
members in Derry. He was responsible for killing
several RUC men and British soldiers. "Martin
McGuinness knew George very well army-wise," said
"He was fully aware of what
George was capable of and he didn't have a problem
with it. Yet now he's turning his back on men like
my brother. George was 24-years-old when he was
killed. He left behind three children – the youngest
was only three weeks old.
"Republican families like
ours are now asking what it was all for not just in
terms of our own loss and sacrifice but on what we
inflicted on our enemy. More than 3,500 people died
in the war. As republicans, we thought we were
fighting for Irish freedom. We certainly weren't
fighting to make Martin McGuinness head of the
Danny McBrearty – himself
jailed in Ireland, Britain and the US on IRA charges
– has known McGuinness for over 40 years: "We worked
together as young lads in Doherty's butchers' shop
on the Strand Road.
"We were in the IRA
together in the 1970s. We were very close. I always
thought of Martin as a sound army man, totally
committed to the struggle. Never in a million years
did I think he'd end up where he is today. He's a
constitutional nationalist, not a republican now."
McBrearty added: "People
went to hell and back for the IRA in this city.
Martin has turned his back on all that and he's even
trying to rewrite history and pretend he wasn't part
of it. The families of dead volunteers in Belfast,
Tyrone and all over the North are very disillusioned
at what's happened. They feel hurt and abandoned."
The Sinn Féin candidate has
refused to rule out wearing a poppy on Remembrance
Sunday if he's elected President. "You wont find any
republicans in Derry doing the same," McBrearty
said. "For us, the poppy isn't a neutral symbol to
honour the dead. It is, and always will be, a symbol
of British oppression."
The ex-IRA man said he
personally knew no former comrades who supported
McGuinness's presidential bid. "The only ones
backing it are MLAs and others who have well-paid
positions in Sinn Féin or who belong to the party's
middle-management. The ordinary volunteers who put
their lives on the line and fought the war are
This article appeared in
the October 16, 2011 edition of the