A senior police investigator was prevented from questioning Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness about the Enniskillen bombing after the British government advised it “would not be a good idea”, a Westminster committee has been told.
A victims campaigner made the claim during an evidence session of a UK select committee inquiry probing how the British government handled efforts to gain compensation from Libya for IRA victims bereaved or injured by bombs manufactured with explosives provided by the late Colonel Gaddafi.
Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for umbrella group Innocent Victims United (IVU), said the IRA outrage on Remembrance Sunday in 1987 was part of a Libyan strategy to use the republican organisation to wage war against the UK.
Eleven people who had gathered to pay their respects to the war dead were killed in the no-warning IRA bomb in the Co Fermanagh town.
Another victim died 13 years later having never woken from a coma. No-one has ever been brought to justice for the Enniskillen bombing.
Mr Donaldson told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee hearing that the IRA were “quite content” to be Gaddafi’s “subcontractors” in his efforts to bring terror to the streets of the UK.
“The reality is Enniskillen was the first significant atrocity where that was being put to test,” he said.
“The individuals who were involved in that, this goes right to the heart of all of this. We have also been advised by a senior former HET (historical enquiries team) investigator that he had cause to wish to bring in the Deputy First Minister (Mr McGuinness) for questioning in regards to that atrocity.
“He was prevented from doing so. The NIO (Northern Ireland Office) advised that that would not be a good idea. And it didn’t happen.”
Mr Donaldson did not provide a date for the alleged episode.
The HET was set up in 2005 to re-examine about 3,000 unsolved Troubles murders.
The specialist unit, which was independent from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, was wound up last year.
Mr McGuinness has previously admitted to being an IRA leader in Derry in the early 1970s, but has insisted he left the organisation in 1974.