Irish Wrestle With Would-Be Prez's IRA Past

Martin McGuinness was Irish Republican Army commander
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2011 10:34 AM CDT
Martin McGuinness, Former IRA Member, Seeks Ireland Presidency
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, left, and Gerry Adams speak to the media during a press conference in Dublin, Ireland, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. Martin McGuinness has been formally declared as Sinn Fein's candidate in the Irish presidental election. The 61-year-old's nomination was ratified by the party's...   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(Newser) – Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has announced his candidacy for president of Ireland; now come the inevitable questions over his former role in the IRA. Reporters this weekend asked about his stance on issues like the IRA murder of an Irish police officer in 1996; officials are also calling on McGuinness to open up about his history. "I have answered all these questions in the past,” he notes, saying people keep voting him into office “knowing that I am absolutely dedicated to a new way forward."

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“Are people saying because I was a member of the IRA in the past that I have no role to play in the future for all the people of Ireland?” he asked yesterday, noting that he’d made an “immense contribution to peace,” the BBC reports. “A number of people in the north who lost loved ones as a result of the actions of the IRA have actually come to me and pledged their support,” he said. Polls open in October, and with Ireland's largest party hit hard over the economic crisis, McGuinness has a chance to win over thousands of its supporters, the Independent reports. (Read more IRA stories.)

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