Martin McGuinness, ex-IRA leader turned politician, dies at 66

Posted Марта 21, 2017

Martin McGuinness, a former Irish Republican Army commander and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland who was a key figure throughout five decades of conflict and peace, has died aged 66, his party, Sinn Fein, said on Tuesday.

"Throughout his life Martin showed great determination, dignity and humility and it was no different during his short illness", he said in a statement.

Paying tribute this morning, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams desribed martin mcguinness as a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the re-unification of his country.

He was convicted by the Republic of Ireland's Special Criminal Court after being arrested near a auto containing explosives and ammunition.

First elected as a member of the Northern Ireland assembly in 1982, McGuinness played a crucial role in keeping the more militant wing of the IRA on board as elements of the leadership secretly probed the possibility of a negotiated settlement.

McGuinness enjoys fly-fishing, and his condemnation of violence in his soft Derry accent have earned him death threats from the paramilitaries he once led.

"Sabina and I have appreciated both Martin McGuinness' warmth and his unfailing courtesy".

Historians and security analysts agree that McGuinness was promoted to the IRA's ruling army council following his November 1974 parole from prison and would have overseen numerous group's most spectacular and divisive attacks.

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In the 1980s, McGuinness emerged alongside Adams as a key architect in the electoral rise of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political ally, and became the party's chief negotiator in peace talks that led to the 1998 peace deal. By 2012 he was famously shaking the Queen's hand in Belfast.

That triggered local elections in which Sinn Fein made major gains against the DUP and the two parties are now deadlocked, meaning that the British government could impose direct rule of Northern Ireland from London.

McGuinness, whose journey from street fighter to peacemaker began in the 1970s during Northern Ireland's "Troubles", had bowed out of politics several months earlier than planned in January due to an undisclosed illness. The two became known as the 'Chuckle Brothers, ' reflecting their warm relationship.

His relations with the newest Democratic Unionist Party leader, Arlene Foster, turned sour with surprising speed.

Now Martin McGuinness has obviously been in declining health for some time. "While our differing backgrounds and life experiences inevitably meant there was much to separate us, we shared a deep desire to see the devolved institutions working to achieve positive results for everyone".

But British lawmaker Nadine Dories spoke for those who can not forgive. Some will never forgive his past but without him there would be no peace.

McGuinness is survived by his wife, Bernadette, two daughters and two sons.

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