GAY BYRNE HAS weighed in on the presidential campaign, calling new entrant Martin McGuinness a “consistent liar”.
Byrne, who once looked likely to join the race for the Áras himself as a Fianna Fáil-backed candidate, hit out at McGuinness and Sinn Féin during a television interview.
He said McGuinness was a “former gunman” who would use “weasel words” during the campaign, and asked: “Do the Irish people want this guy to be head of the armed forces? Byrne said of McGuinness and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams:
They lie. They lie all the time, they lie consistently, and they don’t mind lying, and they rehearse their lies, because they’ve been trained to lie.
He added that McGuinness was a “clever operator” who would be a “strong contender” for the presidency, but said he believed he would not answer tough questions from the Irish public. Instead, he suggested Sinn Féin “will wriggle and weasel words as usual, because they’re very very good at doing that.”
Speaking on TV3′s Midweek, Byrne also insisted that: “I don’t regret not going for the presidency at all.”
Meanwhile, would-be Independent candidates David Norris and Dana Rosemary Scallon are continuing their last-ditch bids to win nomination by next Thursday. Both appear to have failed to secure the support of the 20 Oireachtas members necessary, with only one having signed Dana’s nomination papers.
Last night Norris had won 14 signatures from Oireachtas members, including himself. The Irish Times reports this morning that Independent Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell has also backed her Seanad colleague, bringing his total to 15.
Both Norris and Dana are now hoping to secure nomination by winning support from four county councils. Each would require four councils’ backing to appear on the ballot paper. Norris already has one in Fingal, and at least five councils will debate motions on one or both of the would-be candidates.
South Dublin County Council will meet on Monday to debate a motion to nominate Norris, as will Carlow. Roscommon councillors will debate motions in favour of both Áras hopefuls on Monday,with the county’s mayor Eugene Murphy telling RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today that the council would certainly give its support to one of the two candidates.
Kilkenny will also debate both candidates on Saturday and Monday. A proposal to nominate Norris will be put forward in Laois on Monday.
The Irish Daily Mail reports this morning that supporters of Dana have said they are confident of winning council support in Donegal, Longford and Roscommon.