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McGuinness would host the Queen if elected

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness has said he would host all heads of state – without exception – if he was elected as the next President of Ireland.

Martin McGuinness speaking at Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis last week.
Martin McGuinness speaking at Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis last week.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire/Press Association Images

SINN FÉIN’S MARTIN McGuinness would be prepared to meet the Queen if he is elected President of Ireland.

Speaking to BBC this morning, the probable candidate in the upcoming presidential election said he would meet all heads of state “without exception”.

Back in May, Sinn Féin did not participate in any of the main ceremonies that took place during Queen Elizabeth II’s official visit to Ireland.

Clarifying his new position, McGuinness said:

If the people of Ireland decide that I should be their president, my responsibilites and duties would be to meet heads of state from all over the world and to do that without exception and that would be my position.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams announced yesterday that the party’s officer board has recommended that Martin McGuinness stand as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election. The decision will be rubber-stamped at an Ard Comhairle meeting tomorrow morning.

In his first comments following the announcement, McGuinness said he was “honoured” by the nomination.

“I hope that my campaign will give citizens the opportunity to make a stand for the new Ireland,” he told the Irish News from New York, where he was on an trade trip with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson.

On returning this morning, he also told the BBC that he hopes his campaign will not be “divisive”.

He said he will look to the people for judgement, rather than the media.

Northern Irish politics

Meanwhile, the Irish News has reported on what will happen in the Northern Irish political scene while McGuinness is canvassing. He is likely to temporarily give up his Stormont role but will remain on as MP and MLA for Mid Ulster.

Possible replacements for the Deputy First Minister role include education miniser John O’Dowd, agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill and Culture minister Carál Ní Chuilin.

Nomination

If passed by the Ard Comharile tomorrow, Sinn Féin will have 17 TDs to nominate McGuinness. However, 20 Oireachtas nominations are necessary, leaving the party to search for three more.

Read: Sinn Féin to meet on Sunday to discuss McGuinness candidacy>

More: Norris: ‘This would be the biggest comeback in Irish political history’>

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