Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

McGuinness slams 'unfair' RTE show

Martin McGuinness said questions from RTE presenter Miriam O'Callaghan were 'totally out of order'

Martin McGuinness has claimed the tough questioning he faced on TV's live presidential debate was "unfair and totally out of order".

Mr McGuinness took a grilling from RTE presenter Miriam O'Callaghan over his IRA past and whether he could square his role in the terror organisation with his Catholic faith.

The Sinn Fein member was further annoyed when the other six candidates were asked to give their opinions on whether he was suitable for the presidency.

"I thought it was wrong. I thought it was unfair and I thought it was totally out of order, I have to say," Mr McGuinness said.

Ms O'Callaghan was asking candidates about their religious beliefs and turned to Mr McGuinness, and noting his IRA past, said: "How do you square, Martin McGuinness, with your God, the fact that you were involved in the murder of so many people?"

The Sinn Fein MP initially said the question was a disgrace. He added : "I was accused by Miriam of being a murderer. I think that was wrong. I think it was totally out of order. I was then subjected to a show trial on television. Miriam then went round all the other candidates and asked each and every one of them whether or not I would be a fit person to be president of Ireland.

"She didn't ask me if I thought any of the rest would be a fit president of Ireland."

Mr McGuinness said he believed the electorate would have seen the RTE debate in the same way that he saw it.

"I believe the ordinary people of Ireland are with me in this election. I'm quite content to leave the fairness or otherwise of what happened last night to their judgment, so that's all I've to say about it," he said.

Mr McGuinness said he had a very low-key encounter with Ms O'Callaghan after the show to express his disappointment at the way the debate had been handled. He said he made clear his disappointment in a very reasonable way and insisted there were no raised voices.

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