Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Martin McGuinness, an I.R.A. Leader Turned Peacemaker, Dies at 66
Martin McGuinness, a former Irish Republican Army commander and Sinn Fein political leader who helped negotiate peace in Northern Ireland after decades of sectarian violence, and became a senior official in its power-sharing government, died on Tuesday in Derry. He was 66.
Sinn Fein said Mr. McGuinness had died after a short illness. When he resigned from the Belfast government in January, The Irish Times reported that he had amyloidosis, a rare condition caused by the abnormal buildup of protein deposits in tissues and organs.
In bombings and killings that raged from the 1960s to the ’90s between Protestant and Roman Catholic forces — the Troubles that left 3,700 dead — Mr. McGuinness was widely believed to have joined, and later directed, terrorist activities. He denied the allegations. His only convictions, in the early ’70s, were for possessing explosives and ammunition and for belonging to the outlawed I.R.A.
But in his 40s he evolved into a peacemaker and politician. He was chief negotiator for Sinn Fein, the political arm of the I.R.A., in a complex Good Friday Agreement in 1998, in which Britain, Ireland and the political parties of Northern Ireland created a framework for power-sharing in Belfast and for eventual resolution of issues like sovereignty, civil rights, disarmament, justice and policing.