Rather than merely add to the growing fascination with Martin McGuinness on here, I fished this out of The Irish Times archive. The comments below are the main substance of an article entitled “Why Mary McAleese must be stopped: In a reply to his critics, Eoghan Harris sets out his reasons for trying to block Mary McAleese’s campaign for the Presidency” which was published on the 24th October 1997 (in The Irish Times), with the election six days later.
I’m not suggesting you should make any direct correlation between the candidate then and now and, of course, the author is Eoghan Harris. But, today, would you believe that Mary McAleese generated this sort of press fourteen years ago? Journalism, even partisan journalism, may consider itself as the first draft of history, but at least historians have the benefit of hindsight.
Now, the Republic of Ireland is not yet a Provo puppet state – but these words show that we are heading into the same moral fog which corrupted part of the nationalist community in the North into voting for Sinn Féin, a party which fronts for the sectarian murder gang which has been murdering their Protestant neighbours…
It is my passionate conviction that it is crucial to the moral life of our country that Mary McAleese does not become President. To elect her would signal to Sinn Féin that we are as ambivalent as those Northern nationalists who voted for a party tied to a terror gang…
There are three main reasons why we should not vote for Mary McAleese. First, no matter how she may huff and puff about being involved in a peace ministry, or about being misrepresented, the leaked memo of May sets out her position on the British general election, while the armed struggle was still going on, with stark simplicity. “She was very pleased with Sinn Féin’s performance in the general election.”[This is a direct quote from the leaked memo – J.]
Second, she came to us with a curriculum vitae which concealed the complete picture of her politics, particularly the fact that she could never be a bridge-builder. This concealment alone makes her unfit to be President.
Finally, unlike many of my colleages in the media, I can see plenty wrong with voting for a candidate who is endorsed by Sinn Féin, which is still linked to a terrorist organisation. And I believe most Irish people would agree with me if they were allowed to hear my arguments.
If I am wrong about my own people, then so be it.
Needless to say, but Eoghan was wrong of course.