Penny drops on McGuinness
THE mill of Irish politics may grind slowly but, when it does, it grinds very finely. For a time, it looked as though the daring raid by Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein across the Border could reap real dividends. Slowly, and in some cases, very slowly, when it comes to the moral consequences of putting McGuinness into the Park, the penny has finally dropped.
The numerous 'pundits' who have so misread the moral issues raised by the race for the Presidency are right in one regard, for the defining quality we need in a President is character. It is most assuredly not, however, character as they know it. The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland should note that, in an opinion poll in today's Sunday Independent, two-thirds of the public believe that Miriam O'Callaghan was correct to question Mr McGuinness's suitability for office.
Last week, when it came to this contest, seven people were, if we exclude Mr McGuinness, offered an opportunity to stand by the Republic. The Sunday Independent asked each of the seven candidates a series of questions arising from an assertion by the former Garda Commissioner, Pat Byrne -- who spent much of his career in anti-subversive units until his retirement in 2003 -- that Mr McGuinness was a senior figure in the Army Council of the IRA up to 2003. In large part, the questions were also based on specific acts of terrorism by the Provisional IRA.