herald

Sunday 20 October 2019

SF orders its activists to bombard RTE with complaints as McGuinness dodges questions

SINN FEIN supporters have flooded RTE with more than 100 complaints after the party sent out a rallying call against Miriam O'Callaghan.

The station has revealed that dozens of viewers complained via email and telephone in relation to their presenter Miriam O'Callaghan's tough tackling of McGuinness's past -- when she accused him of 'murder'.

The Herald can confirm that Sinn Fein sent out a rallying cry to members to contact the station over Ms O'Callaghan's questioning of the former IRA boss.

And it appears the call was taken on board, with a number of official complaints also lodged with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

Mr McGuinness hit out at the station -- claiming that he underwent a "trial by television".

And last night, several of the Ulster MLA's supporters came out in force in a republican rally in Dublin to denounce the so-called mistreatment of him by the media.

The Snapper star Colm Meaney -- who was MC for the event -- declared that Irish people should "move on" from Martin McGuinness's past.

The Star Trek actor said he was "proud" to pledge his support to the Sinn Fein candidate and slated those who were set against him.

"I really just don't know why the media are so against him," said Meaney. "I can only assume it's political and that they have an agenda. I don't see why people here can't do what people in England have done and people in America have done which is move on."

And speaking to the Herald, the film star angrily defended the decision to have the event held in his name.

"That's ridiculous. Why would people be surprised in me having this event in my name, I don't see why, I don't see why."



Experience

"I'm proud to back Martin, why wouldn't I? He's got the greatest experience, he's well known in the United States, he's got the greatest stature, you just need to look at the messages from across the world tonight to see that he's very highly regarded internationally and I think that's a major plus as president."

And while it had been promised that the event would be attended by a raft of showbiz stars, most made their excuses and instead sent messages of support to the Sinn Fein man via video link. Those in attendance included journalist Nell McCafferty and Fair City actor Tommy O'Neill.



Not one mention was made of Mr McGuinness's bully-boy ways the previous night -- when he went "ballistic" at RTE star Miriam O'Callaghan following the Prime Time presidential debate.

The Herald revealed how the former IRA chief insisted on having a private conversation with the presenter after the debate.

Afterwards, Ms O'Callaghan was left "shaken" and "intimidated" by the angry encounter.

And last night hardman Martin wouldn't answer my questions as his handlers tried to brush me off.

As the IRA godfather was being interviewed by Northern television, I was warned "not to ask any questions because Mr McGuinness has had a long day and is very tired". When I put it to Sinn Fein that Mr McGuinness had questions to answer, one of his handlers aggressively told me: "You shouldn't even be up here. These interviews are scheduled.."

There followed a night of SF propoganda as speaker after speaker hailed their chief with many lashing the media for asking hard questions of their man's murky past.

I couldn't help but think that they had studied old black and white footage of rallies from another era.

New Sinn Fein? Same old propoganda.

hnews@herald.ie

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