Tuesday 22 August 2017

Timeline: Martin McGuinness led a successful career full of major political moments

Michelle O’Neill is congratulated by Martin McGuinness as she is unveiled as the new Sinn Féin leader in the North at a Stormont press conference. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Michelle O’Neill is congratulated by Martin McGuinness as she is unveiled as the new Sinn Féin leader in the North at a Stormont press conference. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Hayley Halpin

Martin McGuinness has led a successful life with a career full of major political moments, civil rights movements and leadership.

Born in Derry on May 23 1950, McGuinness was one of seven children. After becoming politically active in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, McGuinness joined the IRA.

By the age of 21, he was second-in-command of the IRA in Derry at the time of the Bloody Sunday shootings, where 13 unarmed civil rights protesters were murdered by British soldiers in Derry.

McGuinness was convicted by the Special Criminal Court in the Republic of Ireland in 1973, following his arrest near a car that held explosives and ammunition.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in 1995 addressing a Republican rally in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone. Photo: PA Wire
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in 1995 addressing a Republican rally in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone. Photo: PA Wire

McGuinness withdrew from his involvement in the organisation in 1974. Becoming more prominent in the political scene, McGuinness quickly became one of the most known faces in Sinn Fein, along with Gerry Adams.

He became the MP for Mid Ulster in May 1997 and held that role until January 2013.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness looking at a smashed window at the City Church in the University area of Belfast. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness looking at a smashed window at the City Church in the University area of Belfast. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

McGuinness was Sinn Fein’s leading negotiator throughout the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement.

Following the passing of the agreement, McGuinness was nominated by Sinn Fein for a ministerial position, of which he became the Minister of Education on December 2 1999.

2005 saw McGuinness aid in securing IRA arms decommissioning.

In May 2007, McGuinness was appointed as Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, while Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley was elected as First Minister.

Martin McGuinness outside the Guildhall in Co Derry after giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry, into the Bloody Sunday tribunal. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness outside the Guildhall in Co Derry after giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry, into the Bloody Sunday tribunal. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

McGuinness was announced as the Sinn Fein candidate in the 2011 Irish presidential election. He placed third in the first preference vote, behind Michael D. Higgins and Sean Gallagher.

McGuinness resigned as Deputy First Minister on January 9 2017, in protest of Stormont’s handling of a failed energy scheme.

Former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and First Minister Arlene Foster at Number 10 Downing Street. Photo: PA
Former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and First Minister Arlene Foster at Number 10 Downing Street. Photo: PA

January 19 2017 saw McGuinness announce that he was quitting frontline politics to focus on recovering from a serious illness.

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