Saturday 24 June 2017

Tributes pour in for Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness who has died aged 66

By Georgia Humphreys

He passed away just weeks after announcing his retirement as deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness has died aged 66.

Sinn Fein said that “friend and comrade” McGuinness passed away in Londonderry during the night.

The party released a statement saying: “He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Fellow politicians and members of the public have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to McGuinness, who stood down in January in protest at the DUP’s handling of the “cash for ash” energy scandal.

McGuinness left his past behind – he was second-in-command of the Provisional IRA in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday – to become one of the major players in Northern Ireland’s peace process. His unlikely journey saw him made Deputy First Minister (DFM) at Stormont.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins led tributes from the Republic, saying McGuinness’s death leaves a gap that will 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.

And many have shared their admiration of McGuinness’s legacy.

In 2012, after his historic handshake with the Queen, McGuinness said he “genuinely regretted” every life lost during the Troubles.

In a speech at Westminster he said: “Every single violent act was evidence of a failure of politics and a failure of British policy in Ireland.

“I genuinely regret every single life that was lost during that conflict and today I want every family who lost a loved one to know that your pain is not being ignored and I am willing to work with others to finding a way to deal with our past so that we can complete our journey to true reconciliation.”

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