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McGuinness is a liar, and I hate SF says Gay

Gay Byrne has revealed he is "a hater" of Sinn Fein and claimed Martin McGuinness is a "trained liar".

The veteran broadcaster, who recently decided against entering the race for the Aras, has launched an unusual outburst against Sinn Fein.

Gaybo, in a TV3 interview, said: "I've always been a hater of Sinn Fein and a hater of the Provisional IRA and everything they stood for -- and they don't like me either."

Mr Byrne noted that he has interviewed Mr McGuinness and Gerry Adams several times but never got anywhere because "they are so well disciplined and so well honed that no interviewer gets anywhere with them". "You get nowhere with them because they lie. They lie all the time," he added.

The 77-year-old said: "They lie consistently and they don't mind lying and they've rehearsed their lies and they've been trained to lie and that's what they're doing.

"Do the Irish people want this guy to be head of the armed forces and all those connotations and under the constitution there are many, many different things about which Sinn Fein and he will wriggle and weasel words as usual because they're very, very good at doing that," he added.

McGuinness was also under attack from election rival Gay Mitchell who suggested that his supporters may have manipulated an opinion poll on Joe Duffy's Liveline radio show. The poll put the Fine Gael man a distant third behind David Norris and Mr McGuinness. When the results were put to him, Mr Mitchell said: "I'd say there's an automatic dialling machine somewhere."

His remark came as the Sinn Fein candidate called for Joe Duffy's RTE salary to be capped at €100,000. Mr McGuinness raised the issue following sustained calls on Liveline for him to deal with his IRA past.

Meanwhile, Mr Byrne said that when he looks at Mr McGuinness, he does not think statesman and politician but rather former IRA man and former gunman.

"But then so was Dev [Eamon de Valera] and that didn't stop him. Our history is riddled with this kind of thing and we have to face it one way or the other," he added.