|HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC||low graphics | help|
|You are in: Vote2001: Northern Ireland|
Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
'Adams as first minister'
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has predicted that Gerry Adams could be Northern Ireland's first minister within five years.
Mr McGuinness told Wednesday's Daily Telegraph newspaper he believed his party was only four points behind the Ulster Unionists and would see gains in the coming elections.
"More young people, more new voters are supporting Sinn Fein than any other party," he says.
"There's almost an inevitability that within the next five years Sinn Fein then will be the largest party and the first minister will be a Sinn Fein minister.
"I could certainly see Gerry Adams as first minister."
Mr McGuinness confides in the interview his political heroes include the labour politician Tony Benn and he has more words of praise for another British politician: Tony Blair.
Referring to the decades of the Troubles he says: "I regret the fact that through all those years we didn't have a man like Tony Blair in the British Government who was prepared to tackle the tough questions.
"Everybody is collectively responsible for what happened, but I firmly believe that those chiefly responsible were the political leaders.
"Nobody has clean hands."
He admits to wondering about the public reaction before he made his statement but says: "With the exception of the DUP the vast majority of people have been absolutely tremendous."
Mr McGuinness, who is contesting the Mid-Ulster seat he won from the DUP in 1997, concedes that he enjoys his other political role as education minister.
"I like doing the job because I have the power to change things.
"It's part of the unique political agreement that we all reached."
The other candidates contesting the Mid-Ulster seat are Francis Donnelly(Workers Party), Eilis Haughey (SDLP) and Ian McCrea (DUP).
However, he said that he felt that the politcal focus was moving away from Westminster, with low Commons attendance by the Northern Ireland parties, and that the island of Ireland was becoming "more and more the centre of gravity".
He added: "My ambition, if I have any ambition, it is to be the representative for west Belfast in an all-Ireland parliament."
01 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
Key players in the peace process
30 Nov 99 | Northern Ireland
Martin McGuinness's big day
10 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
McGuinness defiant over school protests
23 May 01 | Northern Ireland
West Belfast's biggest issue?
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
|^^ Back to top
VOTE2001 | Main Issues| Features | Crucial Seats | Key People | Parties | Results & Constituencies | Candidates | Opinion Polls | Online 1000 | Virtual Vote | Talking Point | Forum | AudioVideo | Programmes | Voting System | Local Elections
Nations: N Ireland | Scotland | Wales
To BBC News>> | To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>