James Martin Pacelli McGuinness (Irish: Séamus Máirtín Pacelli Mag Aonghusa; 23 May 1950 – 21 March 2017) was an Irish republican Sinn Féin politician who was the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from May 2007 to January 2017. A former Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader, McGuinness was the MP for Mid Ulster from 1997 until his resignation in 2013. Like all Sinn Féin MPs, McGuinness abstained from participation in the Westminster Parliament. Following the St Andrews Agreement and the Assembly election in 2007, he became deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland on 8 May 2007, with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Ian Paisley becoming First Minister. On 5 June 2008 he was re-appointed as deputy First Minister to serve alongside Peter Robinson, who succeeded Paisley as First Minister. McGuinness previously served as Minister of Education in the Northern Ireland Executive between 1999 and 2002. He was Sinn Féin's candidate for President of Ireland in the 2011 election.
Working alongside US Special Envoy George Mitchell, McGuinness was also one of the main architects of the Good Friday Agreement which formally cemented the Northern Ireland peace process.On 9 January 2017, McGuinness resigned as deputy First Minister in a protest over the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. He announced on 19 January that he would not be standing for re-election to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 2 March 2017 election due to ill health. He reportedly suffered from amyloidosis, a condition that attacks the vital organs, and retired shortly before his death on 21 March 2017, aged 66.
Image Credit: Sinn Féin / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)