Victor Barker, whose 12 year old son James was killed by the 1998 Omagh Bomb, will protest against Martin McGuinness’ presence at Windsor Castle for tonight’s Irish State Banquet. Barker is expected to hold a placard with “A terrorist in white tie and tails is still a terrorist. Martin McGuinness – it’s time to tell the truth” on it.
Whilst the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA), a splinter group of IRA, was responsible for the attack Mr Barker believes McGuinness holds the key to solving the case. A total of 29 people were killed including James, who had moved with his family to County Donegal, a year earlier in search of a better quality of life.
Mr Barker said: “I was born in Windsor and I thought I’ve got to do something. People need to be reminded of his credentials. There is no place for a terrorist at the Queen’s table.” He claims that Martin McGuinness: “knows of things and of people who could give evidence and he will not do so because it breaches their code of omerta. I have nothing against the Irish people. My beef is with the IRA.”
Mr McGuinness, who is now the Northern Irish Deputy First Minister, will be amongst the invited guests at the first ever Irish State visit. He had boycotted the Queen’s state visit to Ireland, but he did shake hands with her in 2012. The Queen was widely applauded for making peace with McGuinness, who was senior in the IRA when the group murdered her cousin, Lord Mountbatten.
The Irish President Michael Higgins has been in the UK since yesterday. He will meet the Queen on the outskirts of Windsor before taking a coach ride to the Castle. This is the standard protocol afforded to any foreign Head of State.
Whilst there has been no criminal conviction for the Omagh Bomb four Irish Republicans were successfully sued for £1.6million in damages. However, criminal charges are less likely as the burden of proof is much higher in British Courts.
Martin McGuinness was known as the “Butcher of the Bogside” during his time in the IRA. His group was committed to a united Marxist Ireland, and was financially backed by Colonel Gaddafi.