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McGuinness defies death threat

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said the death threat he has received from dissident republicans won't silence him.

Mr. McGuinness revealed that he was contacted by a senior PSNI officer last week to be informed of a "real and active threat" against his life from a dissident group in Derry City and said he and the police were taking the threat seriously.

It comes after Mr. McGuinness praised PSNI officers who stopped a mortar bomb attack in Derry last week.

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On Wednesday, two men from Derry appeared in court charged in connection with the discovery of four mortars. They were arrested when police stopped a van in the Brandywell area on Sunday March 3.

Gary McDaid, 37, of Glenowen Park and Séamus McLaughlin, 35, of Eastway Gardens in Creggan, were both refused bail.

They are charged with having explosives with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to cause an explosion, and having a van for terrorist purposes. Refusing bail, the judge said the men posed a serious risk to society.

On Thursday, Mr. McGuinness said he had been visited by the PSNI who informed him of the threat against him.

"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.

"It says much about the mentality of those controlling groups like the one behind the threat that, in their warped logic, threatening Irish republicans and their families somehow advances the cause of Irish reunification.