Northern Ireland news

Martin McGuinness: Tributes to 'patriot and peacemaker'

Tributes have been paid to Martin McGuinness after he announced his departure from electoral politics. Picture by Stefan Rousseau, Press Association

DUP leader Arlene Foster has paid a restrained tribute to Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness after he announced his departure from electoral politics.

Mrs Foster, who clashed bitterly with Mr McGuinness over her handling of the botched RHI scheme, said the pair "come from very different angles of vision".

"Despite all that has happened I wish Martin McGuinness a speedy recovery and that he and his wife are able to enjoy time with their family away from the relentless focus of public life," she said.

Former First Minister Peter Robinson said he was praying Martin McGuinness overcomes his serious illness.

"Martin will discover, as I have, that there is much to rejoice in having more time with family and less stress," he said.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams spoke warmly of his friend of more than 45 years, later tweeting that he had cried over Mr

McGuinness's departure.

Mr Adams expressed his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr McGuinness and his family for "allowing him to become the leader, the patriot, the peacemaker and poet that he is".

He said his friend was "responding well to the treatment he is receiving".

"However, he does need to take time out to get better for himself, for his family and for our struggle," he said.

Martin McGuinness: the journey to peace

Secretary of State James Brokenshire said he spoke to Mr McGuinness last night and thanked him for "his work in securing a number of significant political agreements".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny commended Mr McGuinness's "remarkable political journey" and said he remained committed "to delivering a peaceful and prosperous society for all of the people of Northern Ireland".

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood wished Mr McGuinness well and said "in recent years (he) has acted generously to reach out the hand of friendship and reconciliation".

Alliance leader Naomi Long said Mr McGuinness had "displayed significant moments of generosity, which were important in building relationships and securing the peace we enjoy".

Watch Martin McGuinness' interview in full:

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Northern Ireland news