Candlelit vigil as hundreds mourn their 'hero' Martin McGuinness

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who worked with McGuinness to forge Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, said "there will be some who can not forget the bitter legacy of the war".

At a special session of the Stormont Assembly, Mr McGuinness's Sinn Fein successor Michelle O'Neill paid emotional tribute, while Mrs Foster acknowledged that Northern Ireland would "never see his like again".

In January this year, Mr McGuinness announced his resignation from the post of deputy First Minister in protest against the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.

"Martin McGuinness in my eyes will always be the terrorist he was".

"If he were not a ruthless and unrepentant exponent of violence, he would never have become such a key figure in bringing violence to an end", O'Toole said. Indeed this morning in Washington I have been struck by the condolences expressed by European Union and U.S. officials I met. Martin McGuinness's reach clearly went far beyond those with a strong interest in Irish politics.

The former Ulster Unionist leader told Mr McGuinness that unionists saw him as "indispensable" in moving the IRA towards peace and thanked him for reaching out to the community, especially by meeting the Queen.

The Sinn Féin president added: "On behalf of republicans everywhere we extend our condolences to Bernie, Fiachra, Emmettt, Fionnuala and Grainne, grandchildren and the extended McGuinness family".

"I remember following Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams to Washington, to Boston and NY, and I would have been there with my placards", said Mr McBride.

"If he had been repentant my thoughts might have been slightly different", he said. Five years later, his time as deputy first minister ended when he resigned amid a breakdown in relations with unionist first Minister Arlene Foster over the costs of a renewable energy program.

I met McGuinness again as Sinn Fein lobbied U.S. President Bill Clinton and Irish-American supporters shortly before Sinn Fein's 1997 entry to the Belfast negotiations.

"His leadership, grace and warm personality have transformed Irish politics for the better and his impact will be felt for many years to come".

She said: "As Mayor I want to take this opportunity to express my honest condolences upon hearing the news of the passing of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness".

He said: "I have a fear that Martin McGuinness will be held as a great peacemaker who brought peace to Northern Ireland". In his role as Minister for Education I was grateful for his work to address literacy and numeracy issues which abounded in schools which were under-resourced and not able to deal with the needs of individual pupils who had learning difficulties.

In a short but emotional statement, Mr Adams revealed he last spoke to Mr McGuinness last week before he travelled to the U.S. to pass on best wishes from people and update him on powersharing talks in Belfast.

"The reason he suddenly became a man of peace, was that he was desperately afraid that he was going to be arrested and charged with a number of murders", he said.

"Martin, as we all know, was a very passionate Irish republican". He believed in our people - that people of this island should be free. He believed in reconciliation. So it was more about the fact that we were going into an election period, it was about the kind of issues that had been factors for him in resigning.

  • Salvatore Jensen