Published Monday, 03 October 2011
In an interview with the Independent, the Irish presidential hopeful said he "would not disagree" with the families of victims of the Troubles that their deaths could be classed as murders.
"I'm not going to disagree with their analysis of what happened to their loved ones," he told the paper.
"I accept that, in the circumstances where innocent people lost their lives, then it's quite legitimate for the term murder to be used."
Both Sinn Féin and the IRA previously denied that any killings carried out by the republican paramilitary group could be classed as murders.
The IRA were involved in quite a number of incidents which resulted in the accidental killing of innocent people and the term used by the relatives of those people who were killed was that they were murdered. I wouldn't disagree with that.
During a rally in Derry's Bogside on Thursday night, Mr McGuinness said his heart went out to all of the relatives of the UDR and RUC, who were killed in the city.
However, he has now told the Independent he would not condemn the killing of members of the security force, because "there was a war existing at the time".
"You would be asking me to say that what the IRA did in Derry, attacking the British Army, was wrong. I'm not going to do that."
Referring to his Bogside speech, Mr McGuinness said it was not pre-planned.
"My speech was off the top of my head. I thought it only fair to mention that many British soldiers did lose their lives and the pain of their families is no different from the pain of my friends' families."
The interview is the latest in a series of statements made by Mr McGuinness, who officially began his campaign for the Irish Presidency last week.
The former IRA commander denied that he was a member of the IRA at the time of the 1987 Enniskillen bombing, in which 11 people were killed. Last week, he said he was "ashamed" by the attack.
He previously said he was not directly responsible for killings carried out by the terrorist group.
"I didn't kill anybody, I didn't shoot anybody," Mr McGuinness told UTV-owned radio station Cork 96FM last month.
When asked if he had shot a gun at anybody, he replied: "Well I'm not going to get into the detail of all of that."
Mr McGuinness, who says he left the IRA in 1974, has been repeatedly asked questions about his paramilitary past.
"I know this is a debate that has been raging, but the media are more interested than the ordinary man and woman in the street," he said.
"I don't think the majority of people - to be quite honest - care. I think they see me as someone who was at one stage of my life in the IRA, but they see me in the round, as someone who was able to make peace."
Mr McGuinness will go head to head with David Norris, Dana Rosemary Scallon, Gay Mitchell, Michael D Higgins, Mary Davis and Sean Gallagher when the Republic goes to the polls on 27 October.
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