Belfast Telegraph

Gay Byrne attacks McGuinness in TV rant

Gay Byrne
Gay Byrne
Irish presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness with Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured canvassing with Martin McGuinness, Alex Maskey and Danny Morrison shortly after he was shot and injured in a UDA gun attack in Belfast city centre.
Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, pictured leaving court in Belfast after charges against him involving IRA membership were dropped 1976.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (right) with Martin McGuinness during negotiations at Hillsborough Castle
Northern Ireland's First Minister Ian Paisley, left, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are seen after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness chuckle after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembley
Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the opening of Ireland's first IKEA store in Belfast
Things are looking up: Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley, right, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in New York look around Times Square after visiting the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, Wednesday Dec. 5, 2007
Ian Paisley, left, and Martin McGuinness, right, attend the opening of the New Victoria Shopping complex in Belfast
Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein waves to people on a balcony, as he waits for the results to be declared in the Northern Ireland elections at Ballymena, Northern Ireland, Thursday, March, 8, 2007
From left, Peter Robinson, Matt Baggott, and Martin McGuinness, after a meeting to discuss the violence
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (right) and First Minister Peter
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness in the White House with President Obama
Pacemaker Press 12/10/09 Secretary Of State of the US Hilary Clinton is greeted by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as she arrives at Stormont Castle during her visit Belfast Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

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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