Martin McGuinness has announced he will not be standing in the forthcoming Assembly election, bringing to an end an extraordinary political career.
Mr. McGuinness says that whilst he won’t stand for election again he will continue to work for “the reunification of Ireland, for peace and for reconciliation”.
Here’s a timeline of his journey sofar.
MAY 23, 1950: Born in Derry, Christened, James Martin Pacelli McGuinness.
MID AND LATE FIFTIES: Attends primary school at the ‘Wee Nuns’ or St Eugene’s Primary School on Francis Street
EARLY TO MID SIXTIES: Attends the Christian Brothers at Brow o’ the Hill, leaves school at 15.
LATE-SIXTIES: Works as a butcher’s assistant in Doherty’s Butchers on the Strand Road in Derry.
CIRCA 1970: Sworn into the ‘Official’ IRA. Soon after sworn into the ‘Provisional’ IRA.
EARLY 1972: Had risen to Adjutant of the Derry Brigade of the IRA.
SUMMER 1972: Among an IRA delegation with Gerry Adams, Seán Mac Stíofáin and Dáithí Ó’Conaill, which travelled to Chelsea to demand the withdrawal of British security forces and the right for “Irish self determination” during a short-lived truce.
JANUARY 1973: Sentenced at Dublin’s Special Criminal Court to six months imprisonment for possession and membership. Told the court: “I am a member of the Derry Brigade of Óglaigh na hÉireann and I am very, very proud of it.”
1974: Claims to have left the IRA.
1980/81 HUNGER STRIKES: Was involved in what he later described as frenzied contact with the British Government using a “line of communication” that had been dormant since the breakdown of the IRA’s 1974-75 truce.
1982: Polled 8,207 to John Hume’s 12,282 in Derry in the election to the Northern Ireland Assembly as Sinn Féin contested its first full election since 1957 and the republican movement moved increasingly towards electoral politics.
NOVEMBER 1986: As Vice-President of Sinn Féin tells the party’s Ard Fheis, “I can give a commitment on behalf of the leadership that we have absolutely no intention of going to Westminster or Stormont,” as the party abandons its policy of abstention. This sparks a walk out by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and a split in the republican movement.
1993: Involved in communications with the British signalling the republican movement’s desire to end the armed campaign. This culminates in the Downing Street Declaration in December.
1996: Secures 11,618 votes (25.7 per cent), as part of a Sinn Féin list in the Forum elections in Foyle and takes a seat with Mitchel McLaughlin.
1996-1998: Is Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator in the talks that lead to the Good Friday Agreement and the ultimate establishment of the first long-term power-sharing institutions in Irish history.
MAY 1997: Elected MP for Mid Ulster polling 15,363.
JUNE 1998: Elected MLA for Mid Ulster polling 8,703.
DECEMBER 1999 TO OCTOBER 2002: Serves as Minister for Education in the first Executive until it collapses during ‘Stormontgate’.
2006: Leads negotiations during the talks leading to the St. Andrew’s Agreement.
JANUARY 2007: Helps secure support for the devolution of policing and justice at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis.
MAY 2007: Becomes Deputy First Minister alongside Ian Paisley.
2011: Contests the Irish Presidential election.
JUNE 2012: Shakes Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s hand.
JANUARY 10, 2017: Resigns as Deputy First Minister.
JANUARY 19, 2017: Retires from front line politics.