Northern Ireland

Frank Hegarty: Martin McGuinness 'needs questioned' over murder, son says

Ryan Hegarty
Image caption Ryan Hegarty's father, Frank, was killed in 1986

The son of an IRA informer killed almost 30 years ago has said Martin McGuinness should be questioned in connection with the murder.

Frank Hegarty was found shot in the back of the head in 1986.

His son, Ryan, said Mr McGuinness "needs to be questioned".

However, the Sinn Féin deputy first minister said he "had absolutely no role in the death of Frank Hegarty".

Mr Hegarty's murder is to be investigated as part of a police inquiry into the activities of Stakeknife, who was said to have been the Army's highest agent within the IRA.

Ryan Hegarty told the BBC: "In the eyes of the IRA, my father committed the ultimate crime.

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Media captionRyan Hegarty said his family had been left broken by the death of his father

"In my eyes, he saved the lives of human beings. But it cost him his own life.

"I have never denied that he passed on information to the security services. It's well documented what my father did.

"My family has been left broken and in misery. It left utter devastation."

Mr Hegarty said that he did not find out what happened to his father until he was a teenager.

"It was terrible living in Derry as Frank Hegarty's son," he said.

"He was known as a tout.

"Whatever my father did, he paid for it. My father was a hero, but to the republicans he's a cheater.

"He (Martin McGuinness) was around when things were happening. He was a regular visitor to my grandmother's house. I'm not implicating him but he was there."

'Best of my ability'

Mr McGuinness has always said that he advised Mr Hegarty's family that he should not meet the IRA if he was an informer

In a statement, Mr McGuinness said: "At the time of these events, I was an elected Sinn Féin assembly member, having been elected to the assembly in 1982.

"I became involved with the family on being told that Frank Hegarty, a well-known Derry republican, had informed them that he had been abducted and taken to England by British intelligence agents.

"It was my duty as a public representative to assist the family. I did this to the best of my ability but there was little I could do.

"There are questions to be answered in relation to Mr Hegarty's death by those with detailed knowledge of this event, including British intelligence."

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