Tuesday 23 January 2018

Now on his third political marriage, Martin McGuinness is going through a rough patch

Sinn Fein dirty tricks are once more threatening the political stability in the North

Martin McGuinness. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

Since January, Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland's First Minister, has been in an arranged political marriage with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. He's on his third, having had marriages with her predecessors.

Despite their 24-year age gap and a terrible history, the short-lived union with Ian Paisley (2007-8) was a great success. Onlookers were fascinated by the relationship between Paisley - roaring bigot and religious hatemonger - and McGuinness (inset), a ruthless leader of a terrorist murder machine. McGuinness skilfully played the vain old man who had become top dog at last and could be flattered into anything. It was a bad day for McGuinness when his 'spouse' was cruelly hustled out the door and replaced in the marriage bed by Peter Robinson.

Husband number 2 was a tougher nut: during their eight-year union, business was done formally and without any mutual liking.

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