Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

If Martin McGuinness is not OK for down there, why is he OK for up here?

Long runs the Provo fox ... It seems that Sinn Fein's 'daring' move in running Martin McGuinness in the Irish presidential election is coming seriously unstuck.

Now that the prospect of a former IRA leader, once dedicated to overthrowing the Republic, becoming president has become vaguely real, the media is waking up and asking some rather pointed questions about Machine Gun Marty's 'now you see it, now you don't' past.

And he doesn't like it - not one little bit.

Since Miriam O'Callaghan's close questioning of him on the RTE leadership debate, McGuinness has been bleating about being treated unfairly because the other candidates were asked if he was suitable to hold the office of President. Apparently, if it had been a round robin type of thing when everyone was asked about everyone else's suitability things would have been just dandy.

Except of course none of the other candidates - regardless of their political positions - stands accused of heading a murderous organisation which killed almost 1,700 people in the Troubles. No other candidate has been accused of being involved in the murder of members of the Gardai. No other candidate took an oath - which he has still not taken back - about overthrowing the state.

Surely questions of legitimate interest? But not according to Mr McGuinness.

Indeed, so outraged were his sensitivities, he demanded a private meeting with Miriam O'Callaghan immediately after the debate.

Some might say that was indicative of an overweening sense of entitlement, others that it was sinister.

Recent polls show that many have had a long, hard look at McGuinness and aren't quite so impressed as they once were.

McGuinness' exposure does leave us with one small niggling conundrum: if he's not Presidential material down there, why is he deputy First Minister material up here?

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