McGuinness went from IRA militant to proponent of peace in Ireland

What we are pledged to do, absolutely committed to do, is to end the injustice, end the discrimination, end the inequalities and to end the conflict, and also to remove all the guns from Irish politics.

McGuinness's more recent political legacy is less controversial.

He continued: "No-one has done more for the peace process here in the North than Martin".

Yet these early signals he was sending out, four long years before the Good Friday Agreement that set Northern Ireland firmly on a new and peaceful road, were entirely consistent with that future.

Mr McGuinness was also implicated in the murder of Patrick Gillespie in 1990, who was forced to drive a booby-trapped van to an Army checkpoint while his family were held hostage.

The 48-year-old Catholic was the first officer to be killed since the formation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The violence in Northern Ireland killed around 3,500 people.

"I think the Christian view in life is how a person's journey started is of course important, but it is how it finishes which is actually more important", he said. We shared a train cabin from Washington's Union Station to New York's Penn Station, during which I reminded him of our first meeting almost a decade earlier on the edge of a riot.

"He said: 'Oh, thank you for that'".

Chris Brazier recalls an encounter with the Sinn Fein leader in the days when his voice was still banned from being broadcast in the UK.

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has expressed his honest sympathy with the family of Martin McGuinness on his untimely passing.

But Mr Duffy responded: "I'll always stand by what and who I support, it's the way I was brought up".

"Obviously there are questions over the particular, precise role that Martin McGuinness had within the Provisional IRA and how extensive his role was".

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council is opening a book of condolence in Banbridge "for people to acknowledge the sad passing" of Martin McGuinness, the Lord Mayor Garath Keating has said.

"Then you have that second part of the story - where he moved from terrorism to politics - and those are two things that I sometimes find hard to reconcile".

Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister passed away at Altnagelvin Hospital surrounded by family members in the early hours of yesterday.

"I don't really care how history assesses me, but I'm very proud of where I've come from", McGuinness told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

At the time of the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1971, he was second-in-command of the IRA in Derry. Norman Tebbit, who narrowly survived the 1984 IRA Brighton bombing in which his wife, Margaret was paralysed, described Mr McGuinness as a "multi-murderer" and a "coward".

However, he denied claims that he fired the first shot and refused to answer several questions about the IRA's operations at the time.

Mr McGuinness's successor as the party's leader at Stormont, Michelle O'Neill, paid tribute.

More recently, Northern Ireland's power-sharing government tottered amid a scandal over a bungled green energy program.

"He had a tremendous amount of patience when things were going badly", he said.

"We are on a journey to unite our people and unite our island", he said.

"Like many others I acknowledge his contribution to the peace process and hope that those who now have the responsibility to replace him will show the same level of generosity to those they have to deal with and make compromises because politics is the art of compromise".

"There were a lot of officials in the government who had been through different experiences and were a bit wary about Sinn Féin, and him", added Mr Grimason.

  • Leroy Wright