Ex-IRA Commander May Be Ireland's Next President

Martin McGuinness will be candidate of Sinn Fein
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2011 1:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – An Irish milestone of sorts: Sinn Fein is expected to nominate Martin McGuinness, a former high-ranking member of the IRA, to run for president of Ireland in next month's election. It's notable, explains the Irish Times, because he has a "fair chance of actually winning the election." McGuinness has been a key player in the peace process since the IRA put down its guns, but his paramilitary past is sure to be raised.

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No matter, says Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. “This is a time of great challenge for all the people of Ireland," he said. "We need positive but authentic leadership." Still, the Guardian notes the context: "If McGuinness were to be elected as head of state it would mark a career during which he had been chief of staff of an organization outlawed in both Northern Ireland and the Republic and ends up being chief of staff of the officially recognized Irish Defense Forces." The Irish Examiner has details on McGuinness' IRA role. (Read more Ireland stories.)

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