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Martin McGuinness: 'I know nothing about the Northern Bank robbery'

The presidential candidate insists he “condemns absolutely” the robbery of Northern Bank, and denies knowing the perpetrators.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL Martin McGuinness has insisted that he does not know who is responsible for the robbery on the Northern Bank in Belfast.

Speaking on Newstalk’s ‘The Right Hook’ programme this evening, McGuinness told Hook that he “condemned absolutely” the 2004 robbery, in which £26.5m was stolen.

“I know absolutely nothing about the robbery at the Northern Bank,” McGuinness told George Hook, before arguing that while he acknowledged his past in the IRA, he had long committed himself to the pursuit of peace.

“How could we have done all of that… while working with leaders and Unionists?” he asked. Unionists would not have been able to work with the Republicans “if they thought we were liars and if we weren’t committed to the peace process”, he added.

Isn’t it really interesting that Unionist politicians in the North are much more progressive than some of my critics in Dublin?

David Trimble was attacked by extreme unionists for sharing power; he told them, ‘Just because someone has a past, doesn’t mean they don’t have a future’.

Asked whether there was a contradiction between the IRA’s motive of attacking British forces and its actions in killing Irish security personnel, McGuinness said he had ”unreservedly condemned” any attacks on the Gardaí or the Defence Forces.

“The IRA apologised many years ago to innocent people who lost their lives, and it was absolutely right,” he said. He added that the killing of Gerry McCabe, specifically, was ”absolutely unjustifiable”.

McGuinness also denied suggestions, reportedly attributed to Sinn Féin’s Kerry TD Martin Ferris, that he was undertaking his campaign as a publicity campaign to make Sinn Féin appear more ‘legitimate’.

“That’s not true.. I’m in this election to win,” he asserted. “What I said from the very beginning was I would stand with the ordinary people of Ireland… what I want to be is a jobs president.”

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McGuinness asserted he could “walk into any boardroom in America” and help to encourage investment, adding that he and Peter Robinson had attracted 14,000 jobs to Northern Ireland during his tenure as Deputy First Minister.

He further denied that he was “abandoning” that role, insisting that there was “no prospect whatsoever of the situation in the North slipping back to conflict”, though clarifying that he would resign it if he won next week’s election.

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Gavan Reilly

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