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Martin McGuinness


The former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, has died this morning. 

The former Minister passed away aged 66 after a short illness.

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Mr McGuinness for his contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland.

"As President of Ireland, I wish to pay tribute to his immense contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland – a contribution which has rightly been recognised across all shades of opinion," said the President in a statement. 

"As a political colleague of many years, and having participated together in the Presidential election campaign of 2011 that brought us all over Ireland, Sabina and I have appreciated both Martin McGuinness’ warmth and his unfailing courtesy."

"In addition to his services in public life, as an inclusive believer in community in all its forms he will also be remembered for his warm support for Derry GAA and Derry FC." 

"His death leaves a gap that will be difficult to fill. May he rest in peace.”

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD also paid his respects to Mr McGuinness this morning: 

“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."



A letter dated today has confirmed that Martin McGuinness will step down from his position as Deputy First Minister this evening.

The Sinn Fein member will resign with "deep regret and reluctance" at 5pm today.

As confirmed by his party, Mr McGuiness's resignation is in protest at the Democratic Unionist Party's handling of a renewable energy scheme.

RTÉ reports that it is likely the move will prompt a snap election in the Northern Ireland Assembly. And independent.co.uk has stated that a "dangerous political crisis is now looming" in the region. 

His DUP counterpart, Arlene Foster, continues to refuse to resign over a lingering financial scandal – despite repeated calls to do so from various political fractions in Northern Ireland.

She is accused of badly bundling a major government scheme while she was an executive minister.

Dubbed the “cash for ash” scandal, an apparent loophole seemed to give businesses a financial incentive to burn fuel pointless; close to half a billion pounds is thought to have been misspent in the process.

Furthermore, there is some suggestion that Ms Foster tried to cover-up her involvement in the programme. 

She strongly denies any wrongdoing.



The Queen has now landed in Northern Ireland for a two-day tour of the region, and on her itinernary was a 20-minute long audience with Republican politician Martin McGuinness.

With the cameras posed for the historical event, Sky News footage shows the Queen arriving for her meeting yesterday at Hillsborough Castle.

Mr McGuinness greets the Queen with a handshake asking: “Good evening. Hello. Are you well?”

The 90-year-old monarch replies with a lightning-quick "thank you very much. Well, I'm still alive, anyway.”

Elizabeth then goes on to poke fun at the fact that she gets two birthdays every year – her official birthday, which took place earlier this month, and her actual birthday, which is in April.

She explains: "We've been quite busy. There's been quite a lot going on," adding: "I've had two birthdays, so we've been quite busy."

Four years ago, former paramilitary Martin McGuinness and the Queen shook hands – an occasion later hailed as a significant moment in the peace process.

He again met her in 2014, when she hosted a state event for President Michael D Higgins at Windsor Castle.