McGuinness reportedly seriously ill in hospital

Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness

Sinn Fein has said rumours surrounding former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness’ health is a “private matter” for him and his family.

The party would not be drawn on speculation that Mr McGuinness is seriously ill.

It comes after the Irish News reported on Monday that Mr McGuinness (66) had been admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry two weeks ago because of severe side-effects caused by treatment for a rare health condition.

Mr McGuinness retired from politics in January on health grounds, shortly after resigning as deputy first minister.

His retirement and Sinn Fein’s subsequent refusal to appoint a successor to the role triggered last week’s snap election, which resulted a major resurgence in support for the republican party.

Mr McGuinness did not stand as a candidate in Thursday’s election due to his ill-health and played no visible part in the election campaign.

He also did not attend his local polling station with his wife, Bernie, to vote on Friday and was not in attendance at the count at the Foyle Arena in Londonderry, where his party out polled the SDLP in its heartland.

The News Letter asked Sinn Fein for a statement yesterday regarding reports of Mr McGuinness’ failing health, but a spokesman reiterated the party’s original comment that it was a “private matter”.

Mr McGuinness was at the heart of the power-sharing government which followed the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and served as deputy first minister from 2007 to 2017.