IRA Soldier and Politician Martin McGuinness Dies

Former soldier and statesman Martin McGuinness died March 21 in Derry after a short illness at the age of 66.


Only two months ago McGuinness had resigned his position partly due to a row with First Minister Arlene Foster; but also, because he was not well. McGuinness said in an interview, “the honest answer is that I am not physically capable or able to fight this election, so I will not be a candidate.”

The former IRA – Irish Republican Army – leader was responsible – along with Gerry Adams – for helping to bring peace to Ireland and Northern Ireland.

After a conclusion to The Troubles, McGuinness became the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.


HRH The Queen meets deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at private audience in Hillsborough Castle this evening.
Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

McGuinness married Bernadette Canning in 1972.

He was born James Matin Pacelli McGuinness on May 23, 1950 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. A butcher’s assistant, he joined the IRA in the 1960’s while still in his teens after becoming angry over the way Catholic protesters were being treated. By the time he was 21, McGuinness was an IRA Commander. He later worked his way up to Chief of Staff of the IRA.

Later he worked behind the scenes with the British to help bring peace to Ireland.

McGuinness enjoyed fly-fishing, cricket, and football.

McGuinness is survived by his wife Bernadette, children – Fiachra, Emmettt, Fionnuala and Grainne – and grandchildren.

photos courtesy of:
By NI Executive. Credit: Kelvin Boyes, Press Eye Photography. – First Minister Peter Robinson; actress Emilia Clarke best known for portraying Daenerys Targaryen; Richard Plepler, Chief Executive of HBO and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness pictured at the Hollywood premiere of Game of Thrones Season 3, CC BY 2.0,

By Northern Ireland Office –, CC BY 2.0,

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