Sinn Fein Presidential candidate Martin McGuinness will look to build bridges with the Unionist community if he wins the forthcoming poll.

Derry-born McGuinness wants to use the centerary celebrations of the 1916 Rising to bring all people on the island of Ireland closer together.

Speaking to supporters at an election rally in Dublin, McGuinness said the next decade should be a time for reconciliation between nationalists and unionists.

He also believes the next President of Ireland should mark the centenary of the Ulster Covenant Against Home Rule as well as the 100th anniversary of the Rising.


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“It would be my intention as president to use the next 10 years from 2012 and the centenary of the formation of the Ulster Volunteers, the Home Rule campaign and the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the anniversary of the 1916 Rising to transform this decade of commemorations into a decade of reconciliation,” said McGuinness at the official Sinn Fein launch for his campaign.

“The decade of reconciliation would celebrate the diverse nature of our society, celebrate the peace we now have and commemorate the events of 100 years ago which defined the direction of Ireland up to the present generation.

“I believe that this is what the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation would have wanted. We must continue to reunify the people of Ireland through reconciliation and respect. That is what will lead to an Ireland that is truly united.”

Moving to a more contemporary topic, McGuinness attacked the culture of greed in the Republic which had led, he claimed, to the collapse of the Celtic Tiger economy.

McGuinness added: “The greed and selfishness that dominated so much of political and business life in Ireland in the Celtic Tiger years is responsible for the financial mess we find ourselves in today.

“Those responsible for this state of affairs are not patriots. Patriotism is about country and people. It is not about self aggrandisement.

“But greed and selfishness is not the Irish way - local identity, community and sense of place is what defines us as Irish people, knowing and helping your neighbour, being tolerant to those who are different.”