Saturday 29 April 2017

The dead don't vote but are still important

Martin McGuinness has the career politician's capacity to erase failure from the memory bank, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

ARLENE Foster clearly hasn't read the script. As the unionist minister for trade in the North, her role in the Presidential election, as set down by Sinn Fein, was to confirm that she has no problem with Martin McGuinness's past leadership of the IRA. Instead, Ms Foster had the audacity to ask McGuinness to come clean about the Enniskillen bomb.

Ian Paisley Jr doesn't seem that bothered about losing a valuable peace-making colleague either. His attitude can be summed up in two words: good riddance. As for Gregory Campbell, he wondered if President McGuinness would take the opportunity to apologise to the Queen when they met for blowing up her cousin Louis Mountbatten, along with two children, when they were fishing off the coast of Sligo.

The only reason McGuinness gets away with repeating the lie that unionists don't care about the past, and therefore neither should voters in the Republic, is because few people south of the Border take much notice of what happens north of it. Falsehoods flourish in a vacuum. In fact, such has been the disquiet of unionists at being dragged into the Presidential race under false pretences that Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin (remember him?) has been dispatched to the front line once more to accuse them of being "hypocritical" for not raising these concerns with McGuinness for the past five years.

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