AP NEWS

Martin McGuinness: From IRA commander to politician in pictures and in his own words

March 21, 2017
FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2016 file photo, Northern Ireland's deputy First minister Martin McGuinness arrives to Downing Street, for a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, and the Brexit Secretary David Davies about Britain's decision to leave the EU in London. McGuinness, the Irish Republican Army warlord who led his underground, paramilitary movement toward reconciliation with Britain, and was Northern Ireland's deputy first minister for a decade in a power-sharing government, has died, his Sinn Fein party announced Tuesday, March 21, 2017, on Twitter. He was 66. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

LONDON (AP) - Martin McGuinness, the IRA commander who then became Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, has died at the age of 66 following a short illness.

Reactions to his death illustrate the divisive nature of his life. From being at the forefront of the armed struggle to get the British out of Northern Ireland and unite the island of Ireland, he became a passionate supporter of compromise with his former foes.

Here are some photos and accompanying quotes from McGuinness that mark his transition..

ON THE ARMED STRUGGLE

“We have fought against the killing of our people,” he said in 1973 at the height of the troubles. “I am a member of Oglaigh na hEireann (the IRA) and very, very proud of it.”

“We don’t believe that winning elections and any amount of votes will bring freedom in Ireland,” McGuinness said in 1986. “At the end of the day, it will be the cutting edge of the IRA that will bring freedom.”

ON TALKING WITH THE BRITISH

“We have told the representatives of the British government,” he said in 1994, “that it is now time to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor.”

ON MEETING THE QUEEN

“It was a meeting,” McGuinness said in 2012, “which, although short in length, can, I believe have much longer effects on defining a new relationship between Britain and Ireland and between the Irish people themselves.”

ON THE DEATH OF FORMER FOE IAN PAISLEY

“Past history,” McGuinness said at Paisley’s death in 2014, “shows that we were political opponents, but on this day (in 2014) I think I can say without fear of contradiction that I have lost a friend. ... Our relationship confounded everybody. People were surprised that coming from diametrically opposed backgrounds, that someone from the pro-British Unionist tradition and somebody from the pro-Irish republican tradition could actually have a decent working relationship. But just as importantly, a real friendship grew out of that.”

LOOKING BACK ON THE IRA

“I am still, 40 years on,” he said in 2015, “proud that I was a member of the IRA. I am not going to be a hypocrite and sit here and say something different.”