Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness death: Sinn Fein pull out of BBC show after Nolan asks if some could 'detest' his past

Sinn Fein have refused to speak on the BBC Stephen Nolan show to pay tribute after the death of Martin McGuinness after the presenter said there could be some who "detest" the past of the veteran politician.

The former deputy First Minister passed away following a short illness at the age of 66.

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Over the course of his political career Mr McGuinness transitioned from a former IRA commander to being the face of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.

Mr McGuinness always acknowledged his IRA past.

Sinn Fein were scheduled to go on the BBC Nolan Show on Tuesday morning to pay tribute to the veteran politician.

But they withdrew after presenter Stephen Nolan, while interviewing DUP MP Ian Paisley asked, "Do you find it difficult to work out whether you admire what he did or detest what he did in his life?"

Mr Paisley responded to say: "It can almost be both. Nothing I could ever look at in any sort of sense of acceptance would be the old Martin McGuinness.

"Nothing could inspire anyone to like that or understand that.

Mr Paisley said it was a "conundrum" which was "difficult for everyone" because, "without him, that organisation (IRA) wouldn't have delivered an end to the Troubles and the beginning of a more lasting peace proces."

However Sinn Fein took exception to the word "detest".

After the interview Nolan said: "Sinn Fein were due to come on right now to pay tribute to Martin McGuinness, they say they have pulled out of an interview with the Nolan show because as well as me asking people if they admired Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein have taken exception to me saying this morning if there may have been some people who detest what Martin McGuinness did at one stage in his life.

"Sinn Fein have just in the last few seconds decided because they didn't like me using one word - they are pulling out of the interview this morning."

Mr McGuinness had requested privacy during his illness which saw him retire from front-line politics in January.

He quit as deputy First Minister, after holding the position since 2007, in the wake of the RHI scandal which forced the snap Assembly election.

The former IRA commander said he had intended to retire from politics in the summer but his illness meant he was unable to run in subsequent election.

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