Martin McGuinness prepared to "deal with" questions about his past

He insists the British government must open their files as well

Martin McGuinness, Brexit, Northern Ireland, border, British government, referendum,

Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness| Image:

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has said he is ready to answer any questions about his past if new truth and justice structures are established in Northern Ireland.

In an interview with Sky News, Deputy First Minister insists the British government must open its files on "The Troubles" too if the process is to be implemented correctly.

Plans for a new historical investigations team and a truth recovery process stalled amid claims the release of some documents could compromise Britain's national security.

When asked if he was ready to tell the truth himself, Mr McGuinness replied: "The mechanisms and structures that we have agreed be established make provision for families who have grievance and who are requiring a resolution to their grievance to go forward to these tribunals".

"If, in any circumstance, any of that has a connection with myself, in relation to people leveling allegations or whatever, then I will deal with that. That's not a difficulty for me whatsoever."

Mary Travers, 23, was shot dead and her father, a resident magistrate, wounded by the IRA in 1984. Her sister Ann has not lost hope that someone will be prosecuted.

"She was shot dead in cold blood in the middle of a street, she was completely innocent, she was 23 years of age, walking home from mass," said her sister Ann.

"You would not, in a normal society, stop looking for a murderer and that is what's happened with her," she added.

But Sam Irvine, whose mother Kitty was one of 15 people killed in the loyalist bombing of McGurk's Bar in Belfast in 1971, would settle for the truth now.

He said: "We need the truth above all.  I think the truth would be justice in itself.  With the truth, there will be naming and shaming anyway and people will know who the perpetrators were and if it did come from the higher echelons of government, people will know who they are."

In his first interview since taking charge of legacy issues, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said information would never be withheld without valid reason.

He said: "It's really important that the police service in particular doesn't hide away from embarrassing facts, from uncomfortable truths, and my Chief Constable is very clear about that and nor are we going to.  

"Equally, it's really important, though, that we don't hand out information that would put lives at risk."