TV boozers incur wrath of Martin McGuinness by David Lister He has spent much of the past year in the company of an implacable public moraliser whose long career of saying no has included thunderous protests against everything from Irish flags to line-dancing. But yesterday Belfast was asking itself whether Martin McGuinness has been spending too much time in the company of the Rev Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, after the former IRA leader condemned the drunkenness being depicted in television soap operas. In a reproach of which his new boss would have been proud, Mr McGuinness said: I have to say, I am absolutely appalled at the level of concentration around the pub in the programmes. He added: I am not a fan of East-Enders or Coronation Street but my wife and my children, particularly the girls, watch the programme. I am appalled at the drunkenness that is quite clear for everybody to see and all of that before the 9 oclock watershed when children as young as 8, 9, 10 and 11 are watching. Now I regard that as irresponsible broadcasting and I think something should be done about it. Mr McGuinnesss comments, which came after a meeting of the British-Irish Council in Dublin at which representatives from all the administrations in the British Isles discussed measures to tackle drug and alcohol misuse among young people, led to speculation that the Sinn Fein MP for Mid Ulster is succumbing to the strict Presbyterian outlook of his famously outspoken boss at the Stormont power-sharing Assembly. As the Provinces First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness have led a remarkable double act over the past 11 months. Mr Paisley may still refuse to shake hands with his deputy but they get on so well at least in public that they are nicknamed the Chuckle Brothers. But that these dinosaurs of Northern Ireland politics are finally having an influence on each other was clear for all to see last month when it emerged that Mr Paisley, whose many antiRoman Catholic onslaughts included denouncing the Pope as the Antichrist when John Paul II visited the European Parliament, had taken part in a prayer service led by a Catholic priest. Although Mr McGuinesss comments provoked amusement in Belfast yesterday, nobody should really be surprised at 57, he is still some distance behind Mr Paisley in age but is known for his teetotalism and strict Catholic upbringing. He is described as highly self-disciplined, and has a traditionalist Christian background that makes him paradoxically similar to Mr Paisley. It is said that during the Troubles Mr McGuinness ripped pictures of nudes from the walls of republican prisoners cells because he found them offensive. He regularly attends Mass. For his part, Mr Paisley calls alcohol the Devils buttermilk. He said last year: Alcohol is a reality people drink it though I wish they wouldnt. Mr McGuinness is not the first politician to have expressed concerns about television programmes celebrating drunkenness. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, last year urged television companies to stop screening programmes that, she said, encouraged alaohol misuse.