Sinn Fein have reacted angrily to quotes from Minister of Justice Alan Shatter’s remarks that Martin McGuinness is “not an appropriate person” to become the next president of Ireland.
The statements made by Mr Shatter pointed to the fact that Mr McGuinness did not attend a dinner at Dublin Castle in May for the visit of Queen Elizabeth.
“Martin McGuinness has been doing a very important job in Northern Ireland but in the context of his capacity to be a reconciling force across the whole island of Ireland, I think his failure to embrace the Queen’s visit, and to turn up at Dublin Castle at a time when Peter Robinson and his wife attended, indicates that he isn’t an appropriate person to be our president,” he said.
Shatters judgement has also resonated from Fine Gael presidential candidate Gay Mitchell who added that McGuinness` entry into the presidential race poses “very real questions” for the Irish people to answer.
However, Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has fired back at Mr Shatter, stating that he should not enter the debate and that the Irish people will ultimately decide McGuinness’ suitability.
“I find it completely wrong that a government minister would interfere in the democratic process in such a manner,” she said.
“It is the people who will decide who is fit for the office of President and not Alan Shatter or the Fine Gael Party.
*In this interview, Martin McGuinness talks to Claire O`Sullivan of the Irish Examiner about many current topical issues.