1950 - 2017

Martin McGuinness

From Provisional IRA commander to political peacemaker, Martin McGuinness's journey in pictures


McGuinness joined the IRA believing armed struggle was the only way to achieve a free Derry. He’s pictured here at an IRA press conference in 1972.


He quickly rose through the ranks of the Provisional IRA and is pictured here during various interviews in the 1970s.


McGuinness was arrested in the Republic in 1973. He was convicted of IRA membership and sentenced to six months.

Thumbs Up

McGuinness during a march in London to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in 1997.

Taking Questions

Sinn Féin asks for a meeting with British prime minister Tony Blair after being excluded from all-party peace process talks. Here, McGuinness answers questions during a press conference in London on 26 February 1998.


Gerry Adams, Siobhán O'Hanlon and McGuinness in discussions at the Sinn Féin office in Belfast in 1998.


Newly-elected Sinn Féin MPs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness leave Parliament at Westminster after challenging an order barring them from the premises for refusing to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth.

End of armed campaign

The IRA announces that it will end its armed campaign, but will not disband. Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness is seen at a news conference on Capitol Hill with US politician Richard Neal.

Good Friday

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams alongside McGuinness before the start of the Good Friday Review, chaired by the Irish and British governments at Stormont in February 2004.

Tensions Rise

Tensions remained in NI and Dunloy residents protested the NI Parades Commissions decision to let Orangemen march through Catholic areas. McGuinness tries to calm people as police remove protesters on 12 July 2005.

United Ireland

McGuinness never left behind his dream of a united Ireland.


Now NI's newly-appointed deputy first minister, McGuinness stands with first minister Ian Paisley while British prime minister Tony Blair shakes hands with taoiseach Bertie Ahern on 8 May 2007.

Chuckle Brothers

Once bitter enemies, Paisley and McGuinness developed a good relationship and were dubbed the ‘Chuckle Brothers’.

Lighter Side

A lighter side with US Senator Hillary Clinton in 2007; McGuinness holds a 'Makila' alongside Batasuna leader Arnaldo Otegi in Pamplona in 2006; and Paisley, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso and McGuinness share a laugh during a press conference at Stormont in 2007.

Difficult Relationships

Although McGuinness worked well with Paisley, it was a much different relationship with his successor Peter Robinson.

Historic Handshake

In 2012, it seemed the time had come to make perhaps his most significant peacetime gesture, when he publicly shook hands with Queen Elizabeth on a visit to Belfast.

Strained Relations

Relations with DUP leader Arlene Foster were testy - and deteriorated further over the 'cash-for-ash' scheme.


Stormont fell into crisis on 9 January, when McGuinness announced he was to resign as deputy first minister in protest at the DUP's handling of the controversy.

Snap Election

After Sinn Féin failed to nominate a candidate for the role of deputy first minister, a snap election was triggered. Later that month, McGuinness retired from politics for health reasons.

New Leadership

As McGuinness left the political stage, it was time for new leadership. Michelle O’Neill was named Sinn Féin’s new leader in Stormont at a time of uncertainty in Northern Ireland.