Belfast Telegraph

RTE star's questions to Martin McGuinness were repulsive, says Sinn Fein's McDonald

By Kevin Doyle

RTE presenter Miriam O'Callaghan is under attack from Sinn Fein for putting tough questions to the late Martin McGuinness about his links to IRA killings.

The Prime Time broadcaster's work has been described as "utterly repulsive" by the new party leader, Mary Lou McDonald.

The attack on the "southern media" comes amid allegations in Northern Ireland that Sinn Fein is trying to censor the media. The party denies orchestrating a campaign to boycott the Stephen Nolan Show on BBC NI, and criticised U105 presenter Frank Mitchell after he indicated his support for the Northern Ireland football team.

Both Ms McDonald and her predecessor Gerry Adams question Ms O'Callaghan's professionalism in contributions to a new book by republican author Jude Collins.

They are intensely critical of Mr McGuinness's treatment "by the media in the south" during the 2011 presidential election campaign.

In particular the pair single out Ms O'Callaghan .

After using the phrase "utterly repulsive", Ms McDonald wrote: "I'm thinking of Miriam O'Callaghan and RTE with their 'How do you sleep at night?' I'm thinking of the nonsense of Vincent Browne (though he is a person I personally like).

"You would swear listening to these people that Martin McGuinness was the trigger that caused the northern Troubles. The utter hypocrisy of it."

She adds that the coverage was "absolutely obnoxious" and claims RTE breached their public service remit.

During the debate in October 2011, the long-serving journalist asked Irish presidential candidates about their religious beliefs.

She then 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?"

Ms O'Callaghan declined to comment, but an RTE spokesperson said: "RTE covered Martin McGuinness's 2011 Presidential candidacy in a fair, objective and impartial manner."

Belfast Telegraph

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