Examine us all, says McGuinness

Irish presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness today demanded the past of all his competitors in the race for the Aras be examined.

Irish presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness today demanded the past of all his competitors in the race for the Áras be examined.

The Sinn Féin candidate maintained he is the epitome of how things have changed for the better.

Mr McGuinness, who has temporarily stepped down as the North's Deputy First Minister, said he has made an unique contribution to the peace process in the last 30 years since being first elected as a public representative.

"If people want to examine the past, then let's examine the past of everybody," he said.

"I'm not going to get into recriminating about the past.

"I work for what's happening now, what's happening in the future, building better relationships with unionists and moving forward to continue to steward one of the most successful peace processes in the world today."

Facing fresh questions over his time as a paramilitary commander, Mr McGuinness said he had never hidden his involvement in the IRA.

"I've been very upfront and said that when I was a young person on the streets of Derry the British army came to my city. The RUC were in my city." he said.

"Both the British Army and the RUC murdered people in my city before the IRA fired a shot and I was part of a young generation that decided to stand against them in the Bogside, in Free Derry, and we did stand against them and I make no apologies for that.

"But I do think that when people examine my life and my role in Irish politics they need to examine it in the round."

Mr McGuinness was canvassing at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, Co Kildare, where he shook hands with Independent candidate Sean Gallagher.

Up to 200,000 people are expected to attend the event over the next three days.

The Sinn Féin PR machine was well ahead of the competition, with Vote McGuinness election posters hanging along on poles along the packed country roads.

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence