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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 18:52 GMT
McGuinness confirms chuckle image
Paisley and McGuinness
The leaders have been nicknamed the Chuckle Brothers
Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley have not exchanged an angry word in the eight months they have led the Stormont executive, it has been claimed.

Deputy First Minister McGuinness said his "cordial and civilised" working relationship with the Democratic Unionist leader had confounded critics.

He said SDLP and Ulster Unionist members were resentful because the government was running smoothly.

His remarks come as the assembly marks six months in government on Thursday.

The Sinn Fein MP said: "I've always believed throughout the course of my political life that Ian Paisley was a very bitter, very harsh person and was really only interested in his political opinion holding sway.

We have been discussing important issues together and are taking important decisions together and we are doing so in a very cordial and civilised atmosphere
Martin McGuinness

"I am not offering up what he thought about me. Obviously he probably had as poor an opinion of me as I had of him."

Mr McGuiness said the past year had "changed everything".

"There is a transformed political situation and he and I are now working together.

"We have been discussing important issues together and are taking important decisions together and we are doing so in a very cordial and civilised atmosphere."

"In that situation it is more than likely that your opinion will change of someone and I certainly, when I meet Ian Paisley, don't see the harsh, bitter Ian Paisley that I saw prior to 26 March this year.

His comments appear to be borne out by public appearances which have shown the DUP leader and the Sinn Fein MP to be comfortable in each other's company despite being the bitterest of enemies prior to March.

Images of them joking and laughing in each other's company have earned the duo the nickname,the Chuckle Brothers.



SEE ALSO
'Chuckle brothers' enjoy 100 days
15 Aug 07 |  Northern Ireland



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