Sinn Féin Leader and former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has died after short illness at Derry’s Altnagelvin Hospital with his family by his side. A former deputy IRA commander who was a key figure in Irish politics for five decades, his death at 66, prompted tributes from allies and enemies alike.
He earned widespread respect for his efforts to cement a peace deal in Northern Ireland in 1998. Since that time he remained a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the re-unification Ireland.
The president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, paid tribute saying:
“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.”
Mary Lou McDonald Mary, the Deputy Leader of Sinn Féin and a Teachta Dála for Dublin Central made said in her statement:
“Today we have lost a great Irish leader and patriot. It’s fair to say that we are heartbroken.
“We are more determined than ever to see Martin McGuinness’s political journey to its conclusion: a fully united, peaceful and socially just Ireland”.
Speaking this morning Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD 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 re-unification of his country. But above all he loved his family and the people of Derry and he was immensely proud of both.
“On behalf of republicans everywhere we extend our condolences to Bernie, Fiachra, Emmet, Fionnuala and Grainne, grandchildren and the extended McGuinness family.
“I measc laochra na nGael go raibh a anam dílis.”
This news item issued by Alastair Kneale for the Celtic League 21/03/17