Northern Ireland news

Martin McGuinness may ‘step aside' as Deputy First Minister

Former Sinn Féin MLA Daithi McKay has said that Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness may soon step aside from his role. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

A FORMER Sinn Féin MLA has said that Martin McGuinness may soon step aside at Deputy First Minister.

The former chair of the finance committee Daithi McKay has predicted that McGuinness leave his position due to ill-health.

The Deputy First Minister is currently receiving treatment for an unknown illness with both Sinn Féin and the Executive office refusing to elaborate further on the nature of the condition.

Mr McGuinness has served in his current role for almost ten years, working with three First Ministers; Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster.

Daithi McKay resigned from his role as North Antrim MLA in August following allegations that he communicated with loyalist Jamie Bryson before he gave explosive evidence about the Nama property deal.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph today Mr McKay has predicted a "changing of the guard" within Sinn Féin.

"Over the past two weeks there have been plenty of references to Martin's health, so that may be a signal that changes are coming.

"Gerry Adams has commented on Martin's health in a number of interviews, but at the end of the day it will be down to Martin McGuinness himself and the party leadership," Mr McKay wrote.

Should Mr McGuinness step aside the former North Antrim MLA has tipped "heir apparent" Newry and Army MLA Conor Murphy to succeed him.

McKay reserved special praise for the Deputy First Minister and said his replacement would have a tough act to follow.

"McGuinness has been in post for almost 10 years, served alongside three different DUP First Ministers and demonstrated rationality and patience throughout. A patience and resolve that was required to bed the institutions down. His successor may not show the same forbearance," he said.

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