Stars turn out twinkling for SF candidate


RALLY:THE STARS seemed starstruck at a celebrity-endorsed rally for Sinn Féin presidential candidate Martin McGuinness at the Mansion House in Dublin last night.

Actor Colm Meaney, former Star Trekstalwart, described Mr McGuinness as a “statesman” and derided media coverage of the Sinn Féin man’s campaign as “shameful” shortly after the candidate entered the Round Room to a standing ovation.

“What an amazing occasion. Martin’s entrance was a very special moment for all of us,” Meaney enthused. “The shameful media coverage has done nothing to tear the plain people of Ireland . . . from realising that it is a vindictive and narrow-minded campaign and it won’t work. It’s going to backfire.”

Sinn Féin publicists had gone big on the celebrity endorsement factor ahead of the event, putting out a release to media outlets announcing that “stars” would gather for the evening.

A large video screen showed messages from “Hollywood actress” Roma Downey, originally from the Bogside in Derry, who urged voters to support Mr McGuinness on October 27th. “I know him to be a visionary,” Downey said.

Irish American businessman Bill Flynn appeared on screen to rebut the claim from Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan that corporate investment in Ireland would dwindle if the North’s former deputy first minister became president. The claim was “badly incorrect”, Mr Flynn said.

Dublin hurler Ryan O’Dywer took to the stage and paid tribute to Mr McGuinness. “My name being mentioned in the same line as Martin McGuinness: I sometimes have to pinch myself to see if it’s true,” he said.

O’Dywer said Mr McGuinness and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams had “got the peace process going”. Mr McGuinness had “shown that he can forgive”.

Mr McGuinness had arrived, with his wife, Bernie, making a rare public appearance. The pair were flanked by two of their children, Fiachra and Emmet.

Mr Adams had arrived earlier with Lucilita Bhreatnach, who is assisting him with the Irish language.

Lurking at the back of the hall was another well-known Derry person, Nell McCafferty. “Why am I here? He’s got no traction among women voters. I came to see if Sinn Féin’s got the message yet,” she said. “There’s 15 men to every woman in this hall.”

A post-rally function was arranged for upstairs in Lillie’s Bordello on Grafton Street, with live music and a disco for €5.