McGuinness was entitled to a private life until he considered otherwise. Many public figures battle illness only to be publicised at a later date. We're all human and chances are many of us will battle some serious illness in later life. We get a mere 80 years on this rock.
If he's suffering from some severe health issue then that should be disclosed -- or he should resign from his public role. Or a deputy can be appointed if the roadmap to recovery can occur within a reasonable timeframe. Severe health issues impair judgement in discharging one's public duty effectively. It's an example of a private problem intruding on the public role thus making the problem a public one. The public are entitled to be informed when that happens.
In general I would agree that a politician's health is his/her own business only. I know America has a different view these days but not long ago it was their view too, like when Roosevelt and Kennedy were around.
But in this case he is so massively and suddenly ill that its not realistic to cover it up and I think the Irish Times had every right to publish it. It is of genuine public importance now, because you obviously cannot work at that level of illness and we are entitled to know, at that point, the cause.
But did they get the diagnosis right? This is said to be a progressive genetic illness whereas really he looked as right as rain only a few months ago? Its a very surprising diagnosis, personally I think he will take a lot of secrets to his grave...
I think they will occupy the same spot in Irish history as the Fenians.
But I don't mean that as a mostly positive reference: a lot of Fenians fell into corruption, were cheerfully used as pawns by the British to get coercian acts passed, using a vast network of informers in their ranks, and indeed committed many many terrible completely unjustifiable atrocities.
But still the Fenians did help to keep the flame alive, via some genuinely unselfish and brave people in their ranks, and that was a good thing...