Martin McGuinness Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister, dies | Politics | The Guardian Close Skip to main content The Guardian Become a Supporter news opinion sport arts life Menu news headlines world news UK news science cities global development tech business environment obituaries opinion opinion home the guardian view columnists cartoons opinion videos sport sport home football rugby union cricket tennis F1 golf boxing US sports arts culture home books music tv & radio art & design film games classical stage life lifestyle home fashion food recipes love & sex health & fitness home & garden women family travel money What term do you want to search? become a supporter subscribe Sign in/up my account Comment activity Edit profile Email preferences Change password Sign out International edition switch to the UK edition switch to the US edition switch to the Australia edition jobs dating the guardian app podcasts video today's paper the observer crosswords Facebook Twitter This navigation is new. We'd appreciate your feedback. Share your thoughts here. world UK science cities global development sign in Comment activity Edit profile Email preferences Change password Sign out become a supporter subscribe search jobs dating more from the guardian: dating jobs change edition: switch to the UK edition switch to the US edition switch to the AU edition International edition switch to the UK edition switch to the US edition switch to the Australia edition The Guardian - Back to home home › UK › northern ireland education media society law scotland wales home UK world sport football opinion culture business lifestyle fashion environment tech travel browse all sections close Martin McGuinness Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister, dies Key figure in peace process and former IRA chief of staff dies at 66, just weeks after leaving politics
Martin McGuinness obituary ‘Tough-minded and likable’ - Alastair Campbell From paramilitary to architect of peace process A look back at the life of Martin McGuinness – video obituary Martin McGuinness Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister, dies Key figure in peace process and former IRA chief of staff dies at 66, just weeks after leaving politics
Martin McGuinness obituary ‘Tough-minded and likable’ - Alastair Campbell From paramilitary to architect of peace process Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email View more sharing options Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Google+ Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Close Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent Tuesday 21 March 2017 11.26 GMT First published on Tuesday 21 March 2017 06.15 GMT Martin McGuinness, the former IRA chief of staff and a key figure in the Northern Ireland peace process, has died just two months after stepping down as deputy first minister. The 66-year-old Irish republican died after a short illness in Derry’s Altnagelvin hospital surrounded by his family. He had a rare genetic disease caused by deposits of abnormal protein – amyloid – in tissues and organs. Death of Martin McGuinness: reaction and tributes – politics live Read more Gerry Adams, his closest political ally, confirmed that McGuinness had died. Speaking on Tuesday morning, Adams said: “Throughout his life, Martin showed great determination, dignity and humility and it was no different during his short illness. He was a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the reunification of his country.” The Sinn Féin president added: “On behalf of republicans everywhere we extend our condolences to Bernie, Fiachra, Emmett, Fionnuala and Grainne, grandchildren and the extended McGuinness family.” Tributes and reaction were swiftly issued in Northern Ireland and beyond. To many he was seen as a peacemaker, a man who, having once argued that the British presence in Ireland could only be ended by armed struggle, became a passionate believer in compromise with the unionist community. But some still regard him primarily as a key figure in the IRA terrorist group that killed more than 1,500 people before Sinn Féin, its political wing, embraced the compromises its peaceful rivals in the Social Democratic and Labour party had articulated from the 1960s onwards. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tony Blair: McGuinness ‘formidable as foe and peacemaker’ Tony Blair, who was British prime minister during the Good Friday negotiations, acknowledged that those who had lost loved ones would be unable to forget the past.
But he added: “For those of us able finally to bring about the Northern Ireland peace agreement, we know we could never have done it without Martin’s leadership, courage and quiet insistence that the past should not define the future.” He continued: “Once he became the peacemaker, he became it wholeheartedly and with no shortage of determined opposition to those who wanted to carry on the war. I will remember him therefore with immense gratitude for the part he played in the peace process, and with genuine affection for the man I came to know and admire for his contribution to peace.” From across Northern Ireland’s political divide, Democratic Unionist leader and former Stormont first minister Arlene Foster offered her condolences and said that the news would come as a shock to many. Foster said: “He was pivotal in bringing the republican movement towards a position of using peaceful and democratic means.”
Sending her thoughts to his family, she added that history would record differing views on McGuinness but he had played a pivotal role in bringing the republican movement toward peace. Facebook Twitter Pinterest McGuinness and others help a man injured in a deadly gun and bomb attack at an IRA funeral in Belfast in 1988. Photograph: David Jones/PA Archive Theresa May said: “While I can never condone the path he took in the earlier part of his life, Martin McGuinness ultimately played a defining role in leading the republican movement away from violence. In doing so, he made an essential and historic contribution to the extraordinary journey of Northern Ireland from conflict to peace. “While we certainly didn’t always see eye-to-eye even in later years, as deputy first minister for nearly a decade he was one of the pioneers of implementing cross-community power-sharing in Northern Ireland. He understood both its fragility and its precious significance and played a vital part in helping to find a way through many difficult moments. “At the heart of it all was his profound optimism for the future of Northern Ireland – and I believe we should all hold fast to that optimism today.” The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted: “Martin McGuinness played a huge role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland. He was a great family man and my thoughts are with them.” In a tribute that reflected the unlikely friendship McGuinness formed with then Democratic Unionist party leader Ian Paisley during his time in office, a Twitter account in the name of Paisley’s son Kyle said: “Very sorry to hear about the passing of Martin McGuinness. Look back with pleasure on the remarkable year he and my father spent in office together and the great good they did together.
“Will never forget his ongoing care for my father in his ill-health.”
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tony Blair (left) meets Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in his parliamentary office in 2007. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA The president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, led tributes from the Republic, saying McGuinness’s death left a gap that would be hard to fill. “The world of politics and the people across this island will miss the leadership he gave, shown most clearly during the difficult times of the peace process, and his commitment to the values of genuine democracy that he demonstrated in the development of the institutions in Northern Ireland,” he said.
The Irish taoiseach, Enda Kenny, said McGuinness’s death marked “a significant loss”, adding: “Not only did Martin come to believe that peace must prevail, he committed himself to working tirelessly to that end.” Writing for the Guardian, Blair’s former adviser Alastair Campbell, who was also involved in the Good Friday talks, said: “Of course his terrorist past is a big part of his story. But so is the choice he made to leave it behind.” Others were less sympathetic to the former IRA man. On Good Morning Britain, Norman Tebbit, who was injured and whose wife was left permanently disabled in the 1984 Brighton bombing, called him “a coward who never atoned for his crimes” and said that “there can be no forgiveness without a confession of sins”. And the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries tweeted: “I hope God forgives this man and grants him a place in heaven – however, it will be hard for many to shed tears upon hearing this news.” McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister in the Northern Ireland assembly on 9 January, because of the refusal of the first minister, Arlene Foster, to stand down temporarily during an inquiry into a public energy scandal. McGuinness’s resignation triggered the collapse of the power-sharing government and the calling of new elections in which, he announced on 19 January, he would not be standing.
During his last press conference, McGuinness appeared frail and there had been reports in recent weeks that his condition had deteriorated severely. He was too ill in December to join a trade mission to China with Foster. Martin McGuinness, the man who helped steer IRA away from terrorism Read more Married with four children, McGuinness was the IRA’s chief of staff from 1979 until 1982 and ran the paramilitary movement when Lord Louis Mountbatten and 18 British soldiers were killed on the same day.