Martin McGuinness dies aged 66

The former Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has passed away after a short illness.

Tributes have already began flowing in from across the political divide.

The DUP Leader, Arlene Foster said;

I want to express my sincere condolences, both personally and on behalf of our party, to the McGuinness family upon hearing the news of the passing of Former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Today’s news will come as a shock to many people.

First and foremost, Martin McGuinness was a much loved husband, father and grandfather. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and the family circle at this very painful time of grief and loss.

History will record differing views and opinions on the role Martin McGuinness played throughout the recent and not so recent past but history will also show that his contribution to the political and peace process was significant.
He served the people of Northern Ireland as deputy first minister for nearly a decade and was pivotal in bringing the republican movement towards a position of using peaceful and democratic means.

In recent years his contribution helped build the relative peace we now enjoy. 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. I know that he believed that the institutions were the basis for building stability.

We attended many joint announcements together and one that sticks in my mind is the opening of the Seamus Heaney Homeplace. He was a huge Heaney fan and I know he was particularly proud that the Executive was able to play a significant role in creating a lasting legacy to the poet he so much admired.

Martin faced his illness with courage and, after stepping away from the glare of the public spotlight I sincerely hope he got the chance to enjoy the things he loved.

My sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with the McGuinness family today and I pray that God will draw near to them and sustain them in the days ahead.”

SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood remarked;
I want to express my deepest sympathies to Bernie, Martin’s constant companion and closest friend over the last forty years, as well as his children Grainne, Fionnuala, Fiachra and Emmet. The loss of Martin McGuinness is a significant moment in the history of this island but it is, first and foremost, a devastating loss to his family, friends and colleagues. Our thoughts are with them now.

“It is appropriate that we reflect on Martin’s remarkable journey, made possible by men and women from all traditions across this island who forged a peace process from the fire of a terrible conflict.

“History will record his political career as a journey – one born in a tradition of violence but, in a testament to Martin’s character, that arrived at his true calling in politics, people and the art of persuasion.

“Those who knew him will know that his warm and affable nature undoubtedly made it easier to reach beyond his own political base. The generosity that he displayed in developing relationships with Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson demonstrated a rare gift that came as much from his personality as his politics. It is that gift which is needed in our politics at this moment.

“As a Derry MLA, as Mayor and as SDLP Leader, I always enjoyed a warm and respectful relationship with Martin McGuinness.

“This will be an immensely difficult time for Bernie and their children. On behalf of the SDLP, our thoughts are with them all.”

Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams;

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.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Mendacious? Can you back that up – how so?

  • Granni Trixie

    101!

  • Hugh Davison

    Good to see on TV tonight, the ‘flegs’ at half-mast in Moneymore. Nice mark of respect.

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Burntollet? Bombay Street? The Special Powers Act? Internment? All of this and more was a republican project? Unionists were bombing, killing and maiming in Belfast long long long before the Provisionals. Fact

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Nazi Germany had no greater ally than Neville Chamberlain

  • North Down dup

    Ask the Pope

  • Ciarán Doherty

    In other words, Liggy is upholding the proud protestant tradition of promoting self-determination in Ireland that earned that community statues throughout the republic, whilst you forsake yours for a union on the terminal decline.

    Glad we cleared that up.

  • TJ53

    As a Liverpool supporter pray tell mewhat has that got to do with it?

  • Hugh Davison

    ‘You’ll never walk alone’

  • Hugh Davison

    For a centenarian, you’re very proficient on the keyboard. Chapeau!

  • Hugh Davison

    Leave the people to bury their dead, can’t you, without slavering?

  • TJ53

    Ha ha Very good

  • Hugh Davison

    No?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Umm Japan, Italy?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Fact

  • Augustiner hell

    …” and many many, if not all ex soldiers that I’ve met while living in
    Britain have said that they felt that they had no business in helping
    enforce British rule…”
    Certainly not my experience and I would be fairly confident of having met a few more ex soldiers from that era than you.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    ah the moral high ground, having just wrongly accused someone of lying.

  • TJ53

    I was disgusted with Tebbitts comments and I say that as a middle of the Road Unionist. Nolan should not have had him on the show this morning. Just more poor shock jock journalism .The contrast to Tebbitts comments on Jimmy Saville are sickening ” Ive got no doubt JS was a very odd fellow,and I’m pretty sure he was breach of the law on a number of matters. But i do not know if its possible 40 years on,to do justice in the sense of knowing just how many of those allegations are complete and true” Sorry forgoing off topic. Are for certain comments by republicans on Thatchers death I can assure there were plenty of comment in The Northwest of England especially on the Liverpool Kop about her deathwhich they felt justified for MT destroying the NW&E of England economy and way of life.Sorry about the derailment. But Tebbitts comments got to me.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Funny that …

  • Hugh Davison

    Lying? Who is someone?

    Can’t find the rest of your post, from which that quote came, unfortunately.

  • Jollyraj

    Lord Tebbit was one of many victims of McGuinness’ s murder gang. Completely understandable if he and thousands of other victims of terrorism feel that Martin will be no loss to the world.

  • Jollyraj

    I’ll ask it again, then:

    Do you believe him when he said he left the IRA in 1974?

  • Jollyraj

    So the British government and the Irish government, with their respective military machines, conspired to oppress the Irish Republicans of NI?

  • Jollyraj

    …and Adams and McGuinness…

  • Jollyraj

    That’s a fair point. And having been hoping to get their dividend from the alliance with the NAZI’s, Irish Repiblicans are in no moral position to challenge anyone.

  • Jollyraj

    It did directly target civilians – from bombs in market town high streets to shooting contractors working on army bases to forcing people to act as human bombs to farmers’ s sons on border farms to Jean McConville.

    You ought to be ashamed of yourself as a man to come out with this patent lie about not targeting civilians.

  • Jollyraj

    So the IRA did deliberately target civilians, Enda?

  • Jollyraj

    Haven’t taken exception.

    I simply don’t believe you. There are Catholic unicorns – and I believe you are a Republican troll..

  • Jollyraj

    “Murphy was a psychopath who mutilated and tortured random civilians”

    Hmm…made him very much akin to your average IRA goon during McGuinness’ era.

  • woodkerne

    ‘An army intelligence officer’ … What you mean a fully paid-up propagandist? As the author of the framing piece might also reflect, state and semi-state ‘sources’ whose role it is to dissemble, distort and malign through releasing unaccredited calumnies will of course be thick on the ground in times of conflict – where, proverbially, truth is the ‘first casuality’. For a journalist or academic to take professional liars of the kind at face value without interrogating or qualifying the interest of spooks and panjandrums in producing calculatedly imprecise misinformation suggests either/and/or: gullibility, predisposition to the official version of events, or some manner of ‘heroic’ crusading. None of these inclinations are untypical among the fraternity. At the least, in ‘the fug of war’, we need to be mindful that ‘everybody lies!’

  • Madra Uisce

    I’m a unionist who supports Alliance – in theory anyway,

    Yep theory is right. Your postings when compared to those of known Alliance supporters/members on this board are like night and day. Your postings read more like those of a hard line unionist

  • John Collins

    Yes JR, you are spot on
    I abhor terrorists and those who give them succour on all sides

  • John Collins

    Sorry MU-gremlins, maybe even Freudian slip.
    It was Gusty Spence I was attempting to give a fair account OF, as it was he who tendered the apology
    The ‘event’ I mentioned earlier did actually take place, I read about IT only a few months ago. There was another asimilar display outside Grahams’ Bookie Shop, some years ago, where loyalists had previously gunned down people.
    These actions should have been condemned unreservedly by the OO

  • John Collins

    Whataboutry- It was you who, out of the blue, who brought MT into this debate. Have you ever thought of giving master classes on the subject.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I completely agree

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But how hardline are they really? I’ve been a passionate advocate of the Good Friday Agreement throughout, condemn terrorism from both sides including my “own” and go out of my way to say I treat illegal actions by state forces as as much crimes as anyone else’s, I support an Irish language act, I am a regular critic of both the DUP and the Orange Order while also rejecting exaggeration of their wrongs, I am strongly for the right to abortion, LGBT rights, I am a feminist, I am fervently anti-Tory and a social democrat who believes in investing much more in public services, a more aggressive redistribution of wealth and the banning of private schools, I am a Remainer and I was for a time a Labour activist (in a small way) here in England.

    In NI terms I swing between the Mike Nesbitt outward-looking form of moderate unionism, because I do want my home province to remain part of my country ultimately, and Alliance, the latter because in an ideal world politics should not be defined by the border issue, the centre ground is the best hope for building cross-comunity trust and Alliance walks the walk on all that – and does not preclude one being also a small ‘u’ unionist. I think SF has a right to be in a coalition government based on its current vote share, and other parties should work constructively with it where possible and try to build some kind of working partnership, even though while I find its views on the inter-ethnic problems of N Ireland profoundly wrong and its approach to our recent past immoral and incendiary.

    And it seems it’s because I have zero tolerance for terror apologism from anyone, that in your eyes makes me a “hard line” unionist.

    What that says to me is that you expect anyone in the centre to go easy on the corrosive culture of terror apologism that has accompanied the peace process, to just shrug and accept it. I don’t, because I don’t think dishonesty or obfuscation over the past ultimately is progressive, or a solid foundation for the future. We have to deal with it.

    And to do that people need to let go of the bad stuff – the stuff we all know deep down is bad, but that a lot of people think they can still cling onto and Boris Jonhson-like, have the peace and reconciliation cake and eat the glorious armed struggle / defenders of Ulster in balaclavas guff. It’s not healing and it’s not sustainable. That isn’t a hardline unionist view, that is a centrist, realistic, sensitive view.

    Chugging on, pushing one’s sectional interests, is understandable, but ultimately can never bring people together. Deep down I think people know that. I believe opposition to paramilitarism though CAN bring people together – there’s a foundation there of shared rejection of violence that we can build on. But we can’t get away with partial rejection, that won’t build bridges. West Germany transformed into a different place culturally post-war through determined, sustained zero tolerance towards anything resembling the violent ideology of the past. There were no ifs and buts, because they decided as a society there couldn’t be, if they wanted a better future. That’s the example for Northern Ireland.

    So I will continue to come down like a ton of bricks on anything resembling excuse-making for the terror gangs. It’s for your own good 🙂

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You accused me of lying. I assume you know what the word “mendacious” means? It was your word. Still no mention of what I am supposed to have lied about … perhaps you knew not what you wrote.

  • the keep

    The IRA campaign 1970-1994 oh hang on that wasn’t Republicanism that did that it was the Unionist being lead by their British masters . What a dupe you are Enda.

  • NotNowJohnny

    That’s a poor response and a bit of a cop out, Sunningdale failed coup because the right wing of unionism were not prepared to share power with nationalists. The Council of Ireland was a red herring.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Ciaran, McGuinness et al talked openly about the “armed struggle”, advocated violence as the best approach, refused to listen to everyone telling them to stop for decades, from John Hume to the Pope to the Irish government, not to mention everyone on the British side whom they blanked out completely of course as un-people. For much of the Troubles they were carrying out 70 per cent plus of the killings. Everyone else involved in taking life in the Troubles was up for stopping as soon as the IRA did, right from 1970. Would the IRA have stopped if the Loyalists have stopped? Of course not. Would they have stopped if the security forces has holed themselves up in their barracks and never ventured out? Of course not. The PIRA Army Council decided in January 1970 to launch a new campaign, 8 years after their predecessors in the IRA proper had wound down the last one. That isn’t under dispute, that’s there in the history books.

    Burntollet was not the start of everything. There was a ramping up of tensions in the lead up to August 1969 in which both Loyalists and Republicans participated. The IRA was steadily arming and recruiting throughout the 60s, contrary to the myth that it was moribund. It was planning to launch an offensive in 1965, though the plan was put on ice. Senior IRA figures were very interested in the Civil Rights movement and saw its potential as a Trojan Horse to challenge unionism and push for Irish unity, all the while holding to their core belief in violent action as the only way to make the nationalist case. Bombay Street was terrible, but it happened after two nights of Republican rioting. The first outbreak in Belfast in August 69 was an attack on a police station by a Republican mob, let’s not forget. And the trouble preceding it in Derry, with which the Belfast violence was co-ordinated, was sparked by Republicans attacking an Apprentice Boys’ parade.

    Look, Loyalists were and are no angels and gave as good as they got in the early skirmishes of the Troubles. There was a symbiotic breakdown into lawlessness and violence. And I’m not suggesting there was a Republican masterplan in August 1969. But by January 1970, there was.

    You’re no doubt going to try and suggest the Gusty Spence murders of 1966 ‘started it’. They were inexcusable but they were not the start of the Troubles. The IRA had a campaign going on in 1962, so why not go back to that? Or before that to their wartime efforts? The truth is they were always there. The IRA pre-dates even the start of Northern Ireland. The Troubles were not in process in 1967 or 1968. The UVF killings of 1966, horrific though they were, were isolated, lacked widespread support (even most Loyalists thought Spence was off his rocker at that stage) and were not followed up. At the start of the Troubles, there were no real Loyalist paramilitary bodies on any kind of organised scale; while the IRA was of course there, if caught off guard. Irish government reports have IRA men at the barricades right from August 1969. Troubles-era Loyalist paramilitary terrorism came a little later, just to be clear. Worth looking again at the Scarman Report for a contemporary factual analysis of events: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/hmso/scarman.htm#4
    He says there was no plan for an armed insurrection by the IRA in August 1969 and nor was there an organised Loyalist assault on nationalists. It was a spiralling of small incidents, a ramping up until the more general violence took hold, at that stage.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    There were people against power sharing for sure at that stage – hardly surprising in the circumstances of highly emotive, daily armed attacks by the Provos, which were a barrier to people getting in a room together – but Sunningdale lost (narrowly) at the ballot box. You can write off people who weren’t happy with the deal as just fools, or you can ask questions of why the deal had to push unionists – then a big majority of the actual electorate – quite so far at a time of such crisis. What a missed opportunity it was. The Council of Ireland was not a red herring because it was a huge factor at the ballot box in 1974, that is well accepted by students of unionist opinion.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Also, it is kind of a major point. We are often described as isolated and without friends, and there is some truth to that. Nearly everyone who matters outside N Ireland, not knowing the place so well and being rather lazily attracted to the idea of simple ‘solutions’ and the ‘tides of history’ etc, see a united Ireland in positive terms and just wish we’d say yes to it. This includes a lot of our own country including a lot of the Establishment in our own country. We are well aware of this. Poor little nationalism being helpless against the unionist monster, even in the Stormont era, was never quite the whole picture. Unionists have always known our future depends on us standing up for ourselves, that we can trust no one but ourselves, and if left to others, we will be steamrollered out of existence. Nationalism on the other hand has long had the sympathy of anyone who has it in for Britain, which is quite a lot of the world – from the instinctive anti-Britishness of many Americans, to the old rivals in France and Germany, to (in the old days at least) Catholic countries, to independence-minded former colonies and dependencies. When nationalist leaders go into negotiations in Northern Ireland, they have effectively the world on their side and more particularly, the Dublin government representing their interests; we don’t even have our own country on our side. Yesterday’s national farce over the death of McGuinness reminds us where we stand.

    When Unionists give something away, it’s effectively forever, such is the pressure against us. When nationalists give something away, it is a staging post to the next set of concessions they can enjoy. Imagine how that feels for unionists and how reluctant people are to give concessions in that environment. The Good Friday Agreement recognised that and provided at last a fair process for unionists AND nationalists. That is one big reason why it has lasted and why Sunningdale failed.

  • the keep

    And you reside peacefully in your favela with your terrorist supporting chums “Enda”

  • Hugh Davison

    Yeah, actually you’re right. These big words, you know. I probably should have said “contemptible”. Sorry about that.