Examine us all, says McGuinness
Published 20/09/2011 | 12:16
Irish presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness has demanded the past of all his competitors in the race for the Aras be examined.
The Sinn Fein candidate maintained he is the epitome of how things have changed for the better.
Mr McGuinness, who has temporarily stepped down as Northern Ireland'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 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 also welcomed former Eurovision winner Dana in to the race, who is trying to secure the 20 signatures needed to secure a nomination: "I support all those who wish to contest the election and I think life needs to be made easier for those who wish to contest the election."
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail Senator Labhras O Murchu has withdrawn his name as a prospective candidate.