McGuinness should learn to stick with politics
Published 29/07/2011 | 11:41
Comments by Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, criticising the conduct of the PSNI investigation into the killing of Constable Ronan Kerr, the Catholic policeman who was murdered by republic dissidents, were by any yardstick outrageous.
By declaring his belief in the innocence of one of the people arrested, McGuinness threatens to undermine the investigation. The position of Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister in the power-sharing executive is roughly analogous to that of the Tanaiste of a coalition government here. To take a hypothetical example, imagine the outcry which would have resulted if Eamon Gilmore had declared his belief in the innocence of a man who had been arrested in connection with a serious crime by the gardai.
Unfortunately the system of compulsory power-sharing in Northern Ireland means that Mr McGuinness is essentially unsackable. The only encouraging development was PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott's vigorous riposte that the investigation would continue free of political interference.