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



David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs