Belfast Telegraph

Gay Byrne attacks McGuinness in TV rant

By Fiona Ellis and Ralph Riegel

Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne has stunned Irish television audiences by branding Sinn Fein’s Irish presidential candidate Martin McGuinness a liar.

Mr Byrne, who considered running for the presidency, said in an interview on TV3: “I've always been a hater of Sinn Fein and a hater of the Provisional IRA and everything they stood for — and they don't like me either.

“I've interviewed Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams and they are so well disciplined and so well honed that no interviewer gets anywhere with them.

“You get nowhere with them because they lie.

“They lie all the time. They don't mind lying and they've rehearsed their lies and they've been trained to lie, and that's what they're doing.”

Mr Byrne finished up the interview on the Midweek programme by saying that “like so many other Irish people'', he had lost interest in the presidential election.

He said that when he looks at Mr McGuinness, he does not think “statesman and politician”, but rather “former IRA man and former gunman”.

He went on: “Do the Irish people want this guy to be head of the armed forces and all those connotations?

“And under the Constitution there are many, many different things about which Sinn Fein, and he will wriggle, and weasel words as usual, because they're very, very good at doing that.”

Meanwhile, Mr McGuinness claimed yesterday that he never killed anybody when he was in the IRA. Despite being repeatedly accused of being a member of the IRA Army Council and the Provisional's chief-of-staff during the Troubles, the former IRA leader in Londonderry insisted he was never indirectly responsible for somebody being killed.

The Mid Ulster MP said he had not run away from his past and moved on to make peace with political opponents in the unionist parties.

Speaking in Cork the Sinn Fein candidate said "I didn't say I never fired a gun - I was in the IRA. There were battles on the streets of Derry. I've never run away from that."

When asked if he had killed anyone, he answered: "No."When asked if had been indirectly responsible for somebody being killed, he answered: "No."

"But I'm not going to sensationalise in interviews with something that could then be used to the detriment of the peace process and to the detriment of my colleagues within government.

"I have made my peace with unionist leaders. And I do think some people in the media down here, some elements... need to think about peacemaking and how they make their peace with me."

But East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said Mr McGuinness’ statement that he had never killed anyone was “amongst the most absurd he has made”.

He also again referred to the southern media and their response to his candidacy. "And I do think some people in the media down here; some elements... need to think about peacemaking and how they make their peace with me."

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