Northern Ireland news

Minister urged Martin McGuinness to apologise for IRA acts before he died

Rev Dr David Clements, who wrote to Martin McGuinness at the end of January seeking an apology after his father was murdered by the IRA more than 30 years ago 
Michael McHugh, Press Association

A Methodist minister whose father was murdered by the IRA more than 30 years ago wrote to Martin McGuinness at the end of January seeking an apology.

Rev Dr David Clements' father, Billy, was an RUC reservist who was killed by members of the East Tyrone Brigade of the IRA in December 1985 in an attack on Ballygawley Police Station in Co Tyrone.

His gun was taken from his body and was used in a number of other murders. It was found in Loughgall in Co Armagh following the deaths of eight members of the IRA killed by the SAS in May 1987.

Dr Clements said: "I have worked for over 20 years with the WAVE Trauma Centre in support of victims of the Troubles - including support for the Disappeared and the campaign for a pension for the severely injured, which shamefully has not yet been delivered.

"Victims and survivors face an uncertain future with a comprehensive and inclusive way to deal with the past including the issue that I raised in my letter to Martin McGuinness put on hold.

"After so much suffering over so many years it's simply not good enough for victims and survivors to be told once again that they will have to wait for promises and commitments to be fulfilled."

He wrote to the former Stormont deputy first minister at the end of January asking him to consider making an apology on behalf of the IRA for the "cruel things done" to victims of its so-called armed struggle.

He added: "I want you to know how important that would be to so many who have suffered terribly at the hands of the Republican movement."

He expressed gratitude for the leadership Mr McGuinness had shown in recent years.

"I appreciate the journey you have taken and thank God for the evident grace He has given you along the way.

"The present crisis notwithstanding, we owe you much gratitude for the part you have played in recent decades."

The former IRA commander died last week after stepping aside as deputy first minister in protest against his former DUP partners in government.

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