Irish Republican News · January 13, 2017
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
McGuinness asks for privacy over illness


Martin McGuinness has called for his privacy to be respected by the media after a newspaper published details of a serious illness for which he is said to be receiving treatment.

In a statement, the senior Sinn Fein figure said he was “very disappointed” that the article was published, and that the account of the rare illness from which he is suffering would distress his family.

Mr McGuinness resigned from his position as Deputy First Minister for the Six Counties on Monday over the DUP’s approach to power-sharing, most recently its response to the ‘cash for ash’ scandal. He insisted his health had not influenced his decision to resign.

However, following a televised address to confirm his departure from the role, there were broad concerns over his apparent weight loss and frailty, Some loyalists mocked his condition and predicted an imminent death.

In a statement, McGuinness said: “I have always considered my health a private matter. The media in the main, has respected my privacy. I am thankful to them for that. I am very disappointed that the Irish Times are not respecting that privacy and believe that this will cause my family distress.”

Earlier in the week, Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty said the former Deputy First Minister is getting the best of care and is expected to make a full recovery.

“He’s had health problems, he’s going through treatment. He’s getting the best of care and I expect him to make a full recovery,” said the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson.

“He’s been involved with our negotiation teams right over the Christmas period - when many people were off he was still working. He’s still at it - up and running and doing what he’s always done, which is leading from the front.”

Mr McGuinness has refused to say whether he will contest the expected Assembly election, fuelling speculation that he could retire. With no senior figure among the Sinn Fein Ministerial team, the party’s selections for the expected Assembly elections may give a hint as to who a potential successor might be.

Calling for supporters to rally around the party’s former chief negotiator, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD heaped praise on Mr McGuinness for his “decisive action” to bring matters to a head at Stormont.

“Martin McGuinness has led from the front in the Executive for the last ten years, defending the integrity of the political institutions and realising the potential of the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

“He has worked with successive DUP leaders and is recognised throughout the north, across Ireland and across the world for his leadership and peacemaking.

“In spite of the provocation, disrespect and arrogance from the DUP, and the failures of the British government to fulfil its responsibilities over that time, Martin McGuinness has always put the people and the political process first.”

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