Northern Ireland news

Brother-in-law of Martin McGuinness claims he was approached by MI5

Derry republican Marvin Canning claims he has been approached by MI5. Picture by Mal McCann
Connla Young

A brother-in-law of Martin McGuinness has claimed he was approached by MI5.

Prominent republican Marvin Canning said he received a call to his mobile phone from a man claiming to be from the intelligence agency several weeks ago.

The 56-year-old from Derry said he was driving his granddaughter home from school when he received the call from an unblocked number.

He claimed the caller, who had an English accent, asked him if he was "Mr Canning" and when challenged as to who was calling, identified himself as MI5.

Mr Canning said there was a robust exchange before the man eventually hung up.

A former prisoner, Mr Canning says he is a lifelong republican but is not aligned to any political party.

In 2010 a judge halted a trial in which he was accused of kidnapping and wounding a businessman from Mullingar after late disclosure of evidence rendered it unfair.

Mr Canning said that while intelligence agencies have shown an interest in him before, he has never been the subject of a direct contact.

“They never ever approached me but they approached friends of mine to watch me,” he said.

“To the day I die I’m a republican, my family are republican.”

Mr Canning's solicitor Peter Corrigan, of Phoenix Law, rang the number used to contact him but it went to an answer machine.

“We are taking legal action against them,” he said.

“It is being reported to the Police Ombudsman under Article Eight (of the European Convention on Human Rights and Human Rights Act 1998) invasion of privacy and family life,” he said.

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