POLICE have warned Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, of a “real and active” threat against his life from dissident republicans, the Sinn Fein veteran has said.
Mr McGuinness said detectives have linked the development to the politician’s condemnation of a mortar bomb find in his native Derry on Sunday night and his associated statements of support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
The high-profile republican, who said he was informed of the threat by a senior PSNI officer on Wednesday night, insisted he would not be silenced.
“They linked the threat to my condemnation of the recent attempted mortar attack in the city and other remarks made in support of the PSNI”, he said.
“Both myself and the PSNI are taking this threat seriously. However, there are times when in political leadership staying silent is not an option, and I will not be silenced by threats like this. I will defend the peace process from attack from whatever quarter, be it these groups or the loyalist flag protesters over recent months.
“I am very sure of the ground I stand on. I am also very sure that it is the path shared by republicans across this island genuinely interested in building a new agreed Ireland, republicans who put Ireland before ego, criminality and self gain.”
The death threat is the latest in a recent spate against the region’s politicians.
Elected representatives from across the political divide have been subject to similar intimidation, from extremists on both sides, during the ongoing Union flag controversy in Northern Ireland that started in Belfast in December last year.