When Manley met Martin: “Peter Robinson and I have never had a bad personal relationship”

Interesting interview in today’s Irish News with John Manley and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness. It appears to be a much more relaxed and happy man than the person who was sitting in front of Manley a year ago.

McGuinness spoke of the improvement in the mood between Sinn Fein and the DUP from last year, but he insists his relationship with Peter Robinson has always been solid;

People talk about bad personal relationships between Peter Robinson and myself – but Peter Robinson and I have never had a bad personal relationship…I think I’m incapable of having a bad personal relationship with anybody and I learnt a lot of lessons from the relationship I had with Ian Paisley and the way in which he and had the ability to not just develop a good working relationship but actually developed a friendship.

On Stormont House, The Deputy First Minister told Manley that this was a “golden opportunity” to protect the most vulnerable in our society whilst dealing with flags, parades and the past. On the issue of Welfare Reform, he believes that Sinn Fein brought the DUP round to their way of thinking but he does credit Robinson and his party for their conduct.

When discussing his decision to toast Queen Elizabeth, McGuinness is unrepentant and speaks of his admiration for the British monarch.
I wasn’t going to participate in a half-baked way — if I was going to do it then I was going to be civilised and respectful to everybody
Manley reported that the Deputy First Minister dismisses any notion that Sinn Féin will take its Westminster seats, though he does signal  change regarding the party’s abortion policy. He says he is “totally opposed to abortion” but points to “exceptional circumstances” in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.
You can read the full interview in today’s Irish News



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  • Ernekid

    Martin McGuinness’s transformation from Sinn Fein attack dog to genial elder statesman has been the most successful political transformations in the past 10 years. I think he’s really grown in his role, skilfully managing political outreach whilst keeping an eye on a fickle base of support.

    I don’t think we give McGuinness enough credit especially when compared to Robinsons calamitous leadership style.

  • kalista63

    If you go to Koh Phangan, the famous full moon party island, it’s forever ’98, constantly reliving the last summer of love. IMHO, that’s what it’s like in Martin’s head.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    I’ve been told by a number of reliable people that Gerry Kelly is extremely pleasant and charismatic in real life, nothing like his media image.

  • kalista63

    I’ve met him and it’s true. I also met big Ian, back in the day, and it was true of him too.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    Tom Elliott is also a very down to earth and likeable person in real life who comes across poorly via the media.

  • Tochais Siorai

    It can be a bit Jekyll and Hyde. Politicians are generally nice to the public on a one to one. They’re looking for your vote and surprisingly I find they don’t get challenged that much when they’re out and about. They’re either feted as a a type of celebrity or at worst, ignored. It’s different from say, a TV studio where a good interviewer can bring their out their darker side. Maybe the politicians that aren’t that nice one to one and will tell the public what they don’t want to hear are the ones that we should be electing

  • Redstar

    Hate to disturb this love in but the reason MMG for example is now ” loved by all” is he abandoned his principles to become an establishment career politician

    He’s now very useful to the British for excusing/ explaining away Britain’s continued occupation- just don’t mention the war Marty

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually he’s been outdone by Ian Paisley going from DUP attack dog to genial elder statesman, in my opinion. Marty was defending the institutions for much longer.

  • PaulT

    “but Peter Robinson and I have never had a bad personal relationship”

    Oh, looks like it’s not just every word in Irish being a bullet. Betting Robbo went a bit spruce when he read that. I’m sure Sammy, Jeff and Dodds have being letting the party faithful know that they won’t be so soft once they’re the leader (once they’ve managed to fit all the DUP knives into Pete’s back, that is)

    Et Tu Martin, or is it Infamy Infamy!

  • eiregain

    Willy Hay was nice and forthcoming when as a student I talked with him, until I said “go raibh maith agat” then he went red and refused to acknowledge my existence in the group. On the surface these men are gents, under it we find they are mostly infantile nepotists bathed in self interest. (Yes I’m very cynical but I have evidence to back up my assumptions) the media’s portrayal will always have undelaying agendas especially the BBC. When your in a room with them for an hour or two you get a good idea of who they are and what they represent.

  • eiregain

    Totally agree with your conclusion, not so much the premise though. He is responsible for a lot and surely has achieved a lot, universal admiration is not one of those things.

  • kalista63

    Forgot to mention , I CANNOT STAND MMG!

    Not so much as for the reasons you cite but because he comes across as a pathetic figure with all the integrity of a Liberal Democrat.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’m fairly sure Peter Robinson has had a bad relationship … No not his wife they’ve patched things up … I mean Paisley.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    We’ve obviously been meeting different Lord Bannsides, kalista63, but then Big Ian knew my family well, knew I was an inveterate Lundy, so had no reason to try and charm me. And charm me on those occasions when he ran into me over the last forty years, he didn’t.

    But, yeah, Gerry Kelly is pretty personable in the flesh, although I’d not extend this accolade to many of the other SF gauleiters of his generation that I’ve met………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    My experience too, eiregain.