Martin McGuinness (May 23, 1950 – March 21, 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, as Sinn Féin’s political leader in the North, he became deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland in May 2007, with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Ian Paisley becoming First Minister. In 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.
In January 2017, McGuinness resigned as deputy First Minister in a protest over the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. He announced that he would not be standing for re-election to the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 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.