Sinn Fein’s McGuinness to run for Ireland president

Sinn FEIN’S Martin McGuinness is to run for the office of President of Ireland, his party confirmed last night.

The former IRA leader and current Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland will be formally endorsed by his party leadership over the weekend.

The announcement is already being billed as the republican movement’s most audacious act since IRA prisoner Bobby Sands stood as an MP.

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Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams confirmed that the party’s Ard Chomhairle is to meet on Sunday morning to discuss a proposal from the National Officer Board to nominate a candidate to stand in the presidential election.

He said: “The officer board will recommend that the candidate will be Martin McGuinness.

“Sinn Fein believes that the office of Uachtaran na hEireann has been made more relevant by Mary Robinson and by President Mary McAleese.

“This is a time of great challenge for all the people of Ireland. We need positive but authentic leadership.

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“It will be a great honour for me to propose Martin McGuinness to contest this election on a broad, republican, citizen-centred platform.”

Mr Adams said: “I believe that this election will give Martin the platform to continue the work which he has led in the North and in the peace process and to put it on a national footing.

“I believe he can be the people’s president. If elected he will draw the average industrial wage.

“He will dedicate himself to a genuine national reconciliation and the unity of our people.

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“He will personify hope in the great genius and integrity of all the people of this island - Catholics, Protestants and dissenters.”

The Sinn Fein leader went on: “I would appeal, if Martin contests this election, for people to join in this campaign, including people in the North and across the diaspora who are denied a vote at this time.

“The campaign will give citizens the opportunity to make a stand for a better Ireland, for a united Ireland.”

Ireland’s presidential election is on October 27.