I'll grill McGuinness on his past again - Miriam

Cormac Murphy

MIRIAM O'Callaghan plans to ask Martin McGuinness "tough questions" when he appears on her chatshow tonight.

The presenter said that, despite Sinn Fein's efforts in the peace process, "there is a past and that cannot be forgotten".

Ms O'Callaghan will come face-to-face with Mr McGuinness on TV for the first time since the presidential election when the Sinn Fein man appears on the new series of Saturday Night With Miriam.

The last time the pair were in a studio together, Mr McGuinness confronted her in her dressing room. He had been riled at the way she questioned him about his IRA past during the presidential election debate.

The presenter had asked how he could reconcile his Catholicism with all the murders he ordered as IRA chief of staff.

Asked if she would ask the same question tonight, Ms O'Callaghan said: "I won't be asking him exactly the same question, no. But I'll be asking him questions that are part of my DNA. I'm not a presenter who came in from a presenting school. I'm a jobbing journalist who spent 15 years of my life covering the Troubles, so I go back a long way with him.

"I respect the man greatly. I think what he's done with the peace process has been incredibly laudable, but there is a past and that cannot be forgotten."

RTE is billing it as Mr McGuinness's first major interview since he was involved in "making history" by shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday.

Ms O'Callaghan said that tonight's interview is not the first time she has met Mr McGuinness since the presidential debate.

She told the Herald: "I met him on the day of the count. It's the first time I've done a sit-down interview with Martin McGuinness since the presidential debate, so it's the first real interview with him."

Soccer presenter Bill O'Herlihy will also be a guest, reflecting on his near 40-year television career.