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McGuinness pays tribute at 20th anniversary of murdered Sinn Féin Councillor John Davey

15 February, 2009

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness MP, MLA (Mid-Ulster) told a republican commemoration in Lavey, Co. Derry marking the 20th anniversary of the murder of Sinn Féin councillor, John Davey, that he was "firmly off the opinion that while John Davey's murder was claimed by the UVF, I have no doubt that John was executed by British military personnel authourised at the highest level in the British government".

John Davey was shot in the laneway of his Gulladuff home as he returned from a monthly meeting of Magherafelt District Council on the night of 14th February 1989. The murder was later claimed by the UVF. John Davey's body was found slumped behind the steering wheel of his car in the laneway approaching his home.

Mr McGuinness in his address to the commemorative event attended by several hundred republicans from counties Derry and Antrim also made reference to human rights lawyer, Pat Finucane who was murdered in his Belfast home only two days previous to John Davey.

The Sinn Féin leader said: "the killings were directed by the British state whose objective was to drive fear into nationalists and republicans. The British state's policy of collusion ended in abysmal failure."

Mr McGuinness said:

"John laid the foundation stone for republicanism here in South Derry during many years of struggle and personal sacrifice. He would indeed be truly proud of the achievements of local republican activists across his local area today. Because of the sacrifice of men and women like John Davey the flame of freedom burns brighter across Ireland today than that at any other time since Partition."

He described the murdered councillor as being a "colossus of a man in terms of his contribution to the republican struggle" and recalled many visits to the Davey family home where he found John Davey to be "a man of few words but always thoughtful and considerate".

He continued:

"John Davey was one of us. His wife Mary and her family are so much part of us - and that is why we gather in such large numbers to remember John today."

Making reference to the recently published Eames/Bradley report, Mr. McGuinness said: " The British policy of collusion needs to be exposed." ENDS

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