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Peter Robinson: Through Martin McGuinness' illness we met, spoke by phone and exchanged texts

Former First Minister Peter Robinson reflects upon the unlikely but remarkably robust bond he formed with Martin McGuinness — and how they talked and met throughout the SF man’s final days.

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Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (R) and Northern Sinn Fein leader Michelle O'Neill (L) lay the Irish flag on the coffin of former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness before it is processed through the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry to his family home on March 21, 2017. AFP/Getty Images

This will be a very difficult time for Martin's family and friends and for that section of the community who repeatedly chose him to be their spokesman. In particular, for Bernie and the family circle there will be a great sense of loss and sadness.

Most of us have experienced these moments in our own lives and can only pray that God will be exceedingly close to them at this time of mourning. I know from my many conversations with Martin just how much he loved his family; how much they meant to him and how much a part of his life they were.

I recall those times as we returned from travelling across the globe on Ministerial business the joy he radiated knowing he would be going home to them. I hope that the fond personal memories of times spent together will help lessen their burden and provide some measure of comfort in their grief.

I am often asked if I considered Martin to be a friend. I always found it difficult to give a snappy answer to that question. As I look back, "friendship" would be an inadequate description that would do no justice to our unique relationship.

It was probably more robust and enduring than most friendships and certainly closer, more complicated and formidable than many.

While the media obsessed over any difficulty or disagreement that from time to time would arise because of our distinct political mandates we would have been sitting down seeking to find a solution or working out how we would manage the differences.

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First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in 2014

There never were any tantrums. Yelling and screaming were not part of Martin's temperament. Even after my retirement and through his illness we met, spoke by phone and exchanged texts.

Outside the business of governing we spent many hours talking together - no subject was off limits - but family, faith and football were ever present themes.

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Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, pictured leaving court in Belfast after charges against him involving IRA membership were dropped 1976.

We were very different in political, cultural and religious terms but we both shared a desire - not just to make the institutions work - but to shape a future in which our people would be reconciled to one another and would be judged by their contribution to a shared society rather than the ancient allegiances inherited at birth.

Sadly, too often, events would knock us off course but together we consistently picked ourselves up and returned to our common goal.

Martin publicly admitted his leadership role in the IRA with all its implications and with all the impact it has had on countless lives. You don't have to be a unionist to understand the hurt expressed by victims of the IRA's campaign.

Every section of our community has faced devastating loss. Equally, you don't have to be a republican to appreciate the political leadership Martin displayed in bringing republicans out of conflict and into the political institutions. All these views form part of his life and legacy.

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A vigil is held in west Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )

In life, we play the hand we are dealt and not all our choices are good ones. Whether, or not, you believe in the credo that politicians should never accentuate their errors by verbalising them I am certain most will agree that worthy actions are more convincing that the spoken word in demonstrating change.

My first personal encounter with Martin came in a UTV studio when I ended the DUP's refusal to engage in media interviews with Sinn Fein. It was hardly a meeting of minds. Next morning's newspaper headline shrieked "Studio War".

Yet the non-engagement taboo had been broken and before long the negotiating process would begin. The next time we sat down face-to-face was to prepare the historic statement that announced agreement had been reached between our parties to form an Executive in Northern Ireland.

It was one of the best kept secrets in politics. The shock on the faces of reporters as they were brought in to the press conference to see the DUP and Sinn Fein sitting together demonstrated our joint ability to keep confidences and refrain from leaking. That trust was to endure over many difficult periods and allowed us to de-escalate many tense situations.

By the time Martin and I came together as First and Deputy First Minister devolution's honeymoon was over.

We ran the hard yards of jointly governing a deeply divided society while operating complex and demanding institutions in a manner that could instil confidence and bring delivery.

Real progress was made. Lives were improved. The business of governing amid the legacy of history and hurt while at the same time coping with the endless jolts that politics brings, was a challenge and test for both of us.

We both would have wished to move further and faster but we recognised the imperative of bringing everyone possible along with us.

That meant we each had to accept frustration and respect the pace of each other's support base.

That meant we each had to accept frustration and respect the pace of each other's support base.

Given my seven and a half years working closely alongside Martin in OFMDFM I probably have had a better insight into his thinking than any other unionist politician. I am absolutely certain he had reached a place in his life where he wanted to ensure there would be no reversion to the days of violence and I am equally persuaded that he was genuinely seeking reconciliation and progress in our community.

In my view no other republican could have performed the role he did during this transition. In the period of reflection that retirement provides I have often considered whether there was an alternative route to the one we took.

I know there are some who will never come to terms with power-sharing with Sinn Fein and Martin's elevation to Ministerial office.

My entry to politics was occasioned by the murder of my friend in an IRA bomb attack, so I will never dismiss these sentiments nor play down the pain that has been felt by so many.

I am also sufficiently open to be able to recognise that for republicans and nationalists working with convinced, unalterable - even trenchant - unionists is, for them, hardly a cheerful choice.

Yet the real decision for all of us was whether we wanted hostilities to continue or to end. Even an unconditional end to violence, welcome though that would have been, would not have resolved our community's historic divisions - only a shared stake in the future and working with a collective purpose toward a common goal can do that.

In the challenging period we have entered we all need our politicians to recommit to the principle of creating that shared society and working to fulfil the vision of a new and better era for all our people.

Martin's authority and influence in reaching agreement and in selling it to the republican faithful will be greatly missed.

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Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (R) and Northern Sinn Fein leader Michelle O'Neill (L) lay the Irish flag on the coffin of former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness before it is processed through the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry to his family home on March 21, 2017. AFP/Getty Images
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The coffin of Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness is carried to his home in Londonderry by Gerry Adams and Michelle O'Neill after he died aged 66. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire
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The coffin of Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness is carried to his home in Londonderry after he died aged 66. Niall Carson/PA Wire
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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and Michelle O'Neill, stand over the coffin of former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness as it is carried to his home in Londonderry after he died aged 66. Niall Carson/PA Wire
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The coffin of Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness is placed on a stand as it is carried to his home in Londonderry after he died aged 66. Niall Carson/PA Wire
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Message placed on the wall of Connolly House, Andersonstown, Belfast, from Gerry Adams after the death of Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness aged 66. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
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The wife of former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Bernie (R), helps to carry the coffin of her late husband in procession through the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry to his family home on March 21, 2017. AFP/Getty Images
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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (R) and Northern Ire;and Leader, Michelle O'Neill (L) adjusts an Irish flag on the coffin of the late Martin McGuinness watched by his wife Bernadette McGuinness (C) on March 21, 2017 in Derry (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams (R) and Sinn Fein Northern Leader, Michelle O'Neill (L) comfort a mourner as they await the coffin of the late Martin McGuinness on March 21, 2017 in Derry (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (R) and Sinn Fein Northern Ireland leader, Michelle O'Neill (L) carry the coffin of the late Martin McGuinness past Free Derry corner on March 21, 2017 in Derry, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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An Irish Flag flys at half mast in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry on March 21, 2017 as a mark of respect after the death of former Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. AFP/Getty Images
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Bernadette McGuinness (R) carries the coffin of her late husband Martin McGuinness on March 21, 2017 in Derry, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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Well wishers carry the coffin of the late Martin McGuinness past the murals at Free Derry corner on March 21, 2017 in Derry, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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Well wishers carry the coffin of the late Martin McGuinness past the murals at Free Derry corner on March 21, 2017 in Derry, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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Well wishers carry the coffin of the late Martin McGuinness past the murals at Free Derry corner on March 21, 2017 in Derry, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
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The sons of Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness , Fiachra (left) and Emmet, carry his coffin to his home in Derry after he died aged 66. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire
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The coffin of Northern Ireland's former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness is carried to his home in Londonderry after he died aged 66. Niall Carson/PA Wire
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Mourners pictured at the removal of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness to his home in the Bog side. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.
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Mourners pictured at the removal of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness to his home in the Bog side. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.
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Mourners pictured at the removal of Sinn Feins Martin McGuinness to his home in the Bog side. Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.
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First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in 2014
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Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, pictured leaving court in Belfast after charges against him involving IRA membership were dropped 1976.
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President of Sinn Fein Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at the funeral of Patrick Kelly . 1987
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An injured man being aided by mourners, including Sinn Fein vice president Martin McGuinness (left), at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, after a gun and bomb attack killed three and left four seriously injured, at the funerals of three IRA members killed in Gibraltar. David Jones/PA Wire
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Martin McGuinness handcuffed to a policeman after being remanded at Special Criminal Court in Dublin, January 1973.
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Martin McGuinness pictured in Derry with Rossville Flats in background and other street scenes. 11/11/85. 1148/85/bwc
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PACEMAKER BELFAST Martin McGuinness (left) follows the coffin of IRA man Charles English in Derry 1984
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Martin McGuinness in Derry's Bogside at a press conference. 1971
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File photo dated 26/02/96 of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness speaking to the media after a meeting with Government officials at Castle Buildings, Stormont. PA
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Rory McIlroy welcomed back home following his success at the Open Championship Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness
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First and Deputy First Minister Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness at Stormont at the first British Irish Council meeting 2007.
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1988 Anniversary of Internment rally
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31/08/95 of Martin McGuinness, leading Sinn Fein negotiator in the peace process, attending a news conference in the House of Commons. PA
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Funeral in West Belfast of the Gibraltar bombers; Mairead Farrell, Sean Savage and Danny McCann. Martin McGuinness with Michael Stone's gloves and bullets after the loyalist attacked the funeral 22/6/88
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19/7/2011. PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Darren Clarke returns home to Royal Portrush golf club with the Open trophy he won at the weekend., met by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 27/6/12 Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness watched by First minister Peter Robinson (centre) at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. POOL PICTURE PA/PACEMAKER PRESS
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PACEMAKER BELFAST AUGUST 1985 MARTIN McGUINNESS LEAVING CRUMLIN ROAD JAIL AFTER SERVING SENTENCE FOR FAILURE TO PAY FINES. 1042/85/BW
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Pacemaker Press Belfast: 09 May 2013: The first and deputy first ministers have announced how they intend to progress building a shared future in Northern Ireland. First Minister Peter Robinson said the proposals are the most ambitious ever brought forward on the issue. Among them is the target of bringing down all of Northern Ireland's peace walls by 2023. Mr Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said this could only happen in tandem with the communities affected. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST AUGUST 1985 MARTIN McGUINNESS SINN FEIN LEADER IN DERRY 1006/85/BW
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PACEMAKER BELFAST. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness at Connally House addressing the media about the IRA ceasefire. 31/8/94. 684/94/c
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Pacemaker Press 3/11/2016 The President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Caldern, is greeted by First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle on Thursday during a visit to Northern Ireland as part of his State visit to the UK. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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Pacemaker Press Belfast 07-12-2012: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Belfast as part of a four-day trip to Europe. US SOS Hillary Clinton pictured at Stormont Castle with Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Minister, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST On the first day of the ulster Peace Talks Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness locked out of the stormont talks. PHOTO MARTIN WRIGHT
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/99 Sinn Fein vice President Martin McGuinness pictured with masked IRA men at the funeral of Brendan Burns 5/3/88
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File photo dated 19/10/98 of Martin McGuinness leaving 10 Downing St after a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair. PA
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Pacemaker Press 19/5/2016 First Minister Arlene Foster and and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speak to the media at Storming Castle on Thursday. The various parties have been meeting at Stormont Castle in a series of talks that could decide the fate of the next Northern Ireland Executive. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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Martin McGuinness with Ian Paisley after being sworn in as First and Deputy First Ministers of the Assembly
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Pacemaker Press Belfast 21-06-2013: The British-Irish Council meeting was held in Magee College, Derry~Londonderry. Peter Robinson MLA First Minister and Martin McGuinness MP MLA deputy First Minister host the event. The British-Irish Council was established as part of the multi-party agreement reached in Belfast on 10 April 1998. Its membership comprises representatives from the Irish Government; UK Government; Scottish Government; Northern Ireland Executive; Welsh Government; Isle of Man Government; Government of Jersey and Government of Guernsey. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/11/2012 Prime Minister David Cameron meets First Minister Peter Robinson , Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers at Stormont Castle in Belfast during his visit to Northern Ireland , During his visit The Prime minister announced that The main venue for the annual G8 event is to be at Lough Erne golf resort near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh next year Photo Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker Press
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/09/2015 Chairperson of Sinn Féins Six County Cúige, Bobby Storey, speaks to the media today, Sunday 13th September, at 11am in the Roddy McCorley Social Club, Glen Road, Andersonstown, Belfast, County Antrim BT11 8BU, Belfast. He was be joined by Gerry Adams TD, Martin McGuinness MLA. Mary Lou McDonald TD, and Jennifer McCann MLA. Martin McGuinness speaks at the press conference Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
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Pacemaker Press 20/3/2015 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as Sinn Féin launch the programme of events to mark 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising 1916-2016 on Friday at Clifton House
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Pacemaker Press 3/11/2016 The President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Caldern, is greeted by First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle on Thursday during a visit to Northern Ireland as part of his State visit to the UK. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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Pacemaker press 1//5/14 Deputy first minister Martin McGuinness speaks to the media regarding the detention of the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Mr Adams is being questioned by the PSNI regarding the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. Picture Mark Marlow/pacemaker press
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 8/5/2007. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness pictured before he entered Stormont Parliment on the first day of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
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Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-10-2013: Prime Minister David Cameron has said Northern Ireland is second only to London in the UK as the top destination for inward investment. Mr Cameron is pictured with Northern Irelands First minister Peter Robinson & Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle after attending major investment conference in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 4/6/2008. Bridge to the Future... First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness pictured with Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line, Conor Murphy Minister for Regional Development and Len O'Hagan, Chairman of Belfast Harbour Commissioners on the bridge of the Stena HSS at the official opening of the new £37million Stena Line Terminal at Belfast Port today. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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Pacemaker Press 4/7/2013 First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Belfast City Hall to announce details of the 2013 World Police and Fire games that will begin on 1st August with an opening ceremony at the King's Hall Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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20/5/2010. PACEMAKER BELFAST. PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON AND NORTHERN IRELAND SECRETARY OF STATE MEET WITH FIRST MINISTER PETER ROBINSON AND DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MARTIN MCGUINNESS AT STORMONT CASTLE THIS AFTERNOON. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.
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5/2.10 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. GORDON BROWN, PETER ROBINSON, MARTIN MCGUINNESS AND BRIAN COWAN TALK TO THE PRESS THIS MORNING AT HILLSBOROUGH AS THE DEAL FOR DEVOLVING POLICING AND JUSTICE WAS FINALLY DONE LATE LAST NIGHT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.
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Pacemaker Press 19/5/2016 First Minister Arlene Foster and and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speak to the media at Storming Castle on Thursday. The various parties have been meeting at Stormont Castle in a series of talks that could decide the fate of the next Northern Ireland Executive. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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27/1/2010. PACEMAKER BELFAST. GERRY ADAMS AND MARTIN MCGUINNESS HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE INSIDE HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. 6/2/11 : First Minister Peter Robinson and Dep. First Minister Martin McGuinness pictured at a special Good Samaritans Service in St. Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. Donations from the Black Santa Christmas Sit out were presented to representatives of 180 charities and community groups. PHOTO: Kirth Ferris/Pacemaker
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Pacemaker Press 14/12/10 Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont yesterday after a draft budget was agreed on cuts, after intensive discussions over the course of the last three to four months Chancellor George Osbourne ordered Stormont to cut spending by £4bn over the next four years as part of the Spending Review Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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29/9/2010. Former President of the United States Bill Clinton departs Magee College to cheers from students eager to catch a glimpse of the world statesman as he posed with First Minister and Deputy First Minister Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness alongside John Hume. Picture: Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness with Loyalist Jackie McDonald on the Falls Road at the Bobby Sands Mural. Loyaltist and Republican leaders came together to give an insight into the troubles. William 'Plum' Smith joined Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness on Stage with Brian Rowan as part as an Exhibition to his archives Photo; Colm O'Reilly Pacemaker Press
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30/1/2010. PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST. DRESS DOWN SATURDAY. DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER MARTIN MCGUINNESS ARRIVES AT HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.
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Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness Loyalist Jackie McDonald and Peter Sheridan former head of Special Branch in the Falls Road Library, Loyaltist and Republican leaders came together to give an insight into the troubles. William 'Plum' Smith joined Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness on Stage with Brian Rowan. Photo; Colm O'Reilly Pacemaker Press
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 14/7/2010 PSNI Chief Constble Matt Baggott meets with First and deputy First ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness this afternoon to discuss the on going security situation in North Belfast after the 12th July.
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Pacemaker Press Belfast. 8-06-09 An Unhappy Jim Allister with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness at the Counting of ballots cast in the European elections in Northern Ireland where the DUP may be facing its worst ever result in a European parliamentary election due, in part, to a split in the unionist vote. Photo; Colm O'Reilly Pacemaker Press
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/5/09 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams takes a plunge at the partys photocall in the Water Works in North Belfast. As the partys European Election candidate Barbrie de Bruin (centre) posed for the cameras with party colleagues, Mr Adams was saved by his deputy Martin McGuinness, doing his David Hasselhoff impersonation. Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
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PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 10-03-2009: The First Minister Peter Robinson was joined by the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde at a press conference at Belfast Stormont Castle. They condemned the murdered policeman Constable Stephen Paul Carroll, 48, a married man with children from the Banbridge area of County Down Northern Ireland . PICTURE BY: ARTHUR ALLISON.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST 11/11/2009. First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness greet Irish Foreign Secretary Micheal Martin at Stormont castle this morning. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST 11/11/2009. First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness wait to greet Irish Foreign Secretary Micheal Martin at Stormont castle this morning. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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Pacemaker Press 12/10/09 Secretary Of State of the US Hilary Clinton after a meeting with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle during her visit Belfast Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
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Pacemaker Press 12/10/09 Secretary Of State of the US Hilary Clinton after a meeting with First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle during her visit Belfast Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
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File photo dated 05/11/03 of Martin McGuinness walking past a Bloody Sunday mural in the Bogside in Derry. PA
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PACEMAKER PRESS 24-04-2009. Martin McGuinness arrives at Free Derry corner for his press conference this afternoon concerning the death threats made against him by dissident republicans. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 29/9/2010: The former US President Bill Clinton , with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness,after speaking at the University of Ulster,Magee campus, in Londonderry,Wednesday 29th September 2010,Mr Clinton arrived in Northern Ireland on a visit designed to support the peace process and promote economic growth.Mr Clinton is visiting Londonderry where 25,000 people turned out to see him on his first visit in 1995. He is expected to make a speech at the University of Ulster campus at Magee on how to build economic prosperity.PA:Paul Faith POOL PICTURE
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 4/4/2007 Sinn Fein today announced their Ministerial team in the forthcoming Executive on 8th May. Making the announcement Chief negotiator and deputy first Minister Martin McGuinness was joined on the Stormont Steps by Francie Molloy, Connor Murphy, Catriona Ruane, Michelle Gildernew and Gerry Kelly. PHOTO MARK PEARCE/PACEMAKER PRESS
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 4/4/2007 Sinn Fein today announced their Ministerial team in the forthcoming Executive on 8th May. Making the announcement Chief negotiator and deputy first Minister martin McGuinness was joined on the Stormont Steps by Francie Molloy, Connor Murphy, Catriona Ruane, Michelle Gildernew and Gerry Kelly. PHOTO MARK PEARCE/PACEMAKER PRESS
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Pacemaker Press International Belfast 16/7/2007. First and Deputy First Minister Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness pictured today at Stormont at the British Irish Council meeting 2007 . Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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Pacemaker Press International Belfast 12/7/2007. HOWZAT!? First and Deputy First Ministers Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness pictured this evening with Ireland's cricket captain Trent Johnston and spin bowler Kyle McCallen. The Irish cricket side were at Parliment Buildings in honour of their heroic exploits at the Cricket World Cup. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 8/5/2007. Prime Minister Tony Blair poses on the steps as he leaves Stormont Parliment on the first day of the Northern Ireland Assembly with Bertie Ahern watched by First Minister and Deputy First Minister Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
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PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 8/3/2007: Francie Molloy, Michelle O'Neill and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein celebrate being elected in the first count in the Mid Ulster constituency in the Assembly election count in Ballymena today. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL 1-05-2007:President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso pictured meeting Northern Irelands First and Deputy First Ministers the Rev Ian Paisley,MP,MLA and Mr Martin McGuinness MP, MLA at the steps of Parliament Buildings in Belfast. PICTURE BY: ARTHUR ALLISON.
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Pacemaker Press 19/5/2016 First Minister Arlene Foster and and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness speak to the media at Storming Castle on Thursday. The various parties have been meeting at Stormont Castle in a series of talks that could decide the fate of the next Northern Ireland Executive. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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Pacemaker Press 16/5/2016 Deputy First Minister Martin Martin McGuinness speaks to the media at Storming Castle on Wednesday, as he confirmed the ministers would be appointed next week. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 17/11/2015 First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle, A deal has been reached between the British and Irish governments and the Northern Ireland parties to resolve the current political crisis. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
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27/1/2010. PACEMAKER BELFAST. GERRY ADAMS AND MARTIN MCGUINNESS HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE INSIDE HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.
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File photo dated 31/08/95 of Martin McGuinness, leading Sinn Fein negotiator in the peace process, attending a news conference in the House of Commons.John Stillwell/PA Wire
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File photo dated 08/03/07 of Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein standing beside a table where his votes are being counted after the Northern Ireland Assembly election in Ballymena, Co Antrim. Julien Behal/PA Wire
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File photo dated 31/12/07 of Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley (right) and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the opening of Ireland's first IKEA store in Belfast. Paul Faith/PA Wire
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File photo dated 15/03/2000 of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (left) and Martin McGuinness embracing at Dublin Airport. Chris Bacon/PA Wire
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File photo dated 07/05/10 of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (second right) of Sinn Fein celebrating after being returned as MP for Mid Ulster, at The Seven Towers Leisure Centre in Ballymena. Paul Faith/PA Wire
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File photo dated 09/08/85 of Noraid leader Martin Galvin (right), banned from Northern Ireland by the Home Secretary, standing alongside Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, as the two men acted as pall-bearers at the Londonderry funeral of IRA man Charles English. PA Wire
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File photo dated 04/08/05 of Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) meeting Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams (right) and chief negotiator Martin McGuinness in 10 Downing Street. Richard Pohle/PA Wire
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File photo dated 11/12/97 of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and his deputy Martin McGuinness (left) with party aides outside No10 Downing Street before meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair for peace talks. Adam Butler/PA Wire
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File photo dated 19/10/98 of Martin McGuinness leaving 10 Downing St after a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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File photo dated 10/11/03 of Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein speaking at an election press conference in Belfast. Paul Faith/PA Wire
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File photo dated 23/06/09 of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness looking at a smashed window at the City Church in the University area of Belfast. PA
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File photo dated 24/05/08 of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (right) and Martin McGuinness carrying the coffin of former senior IRA commander Brian Keenan in west Belfast. Paul Faith/PA Wire
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File photo dated 09/08/96 of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness addressing Nationalists outside the Guildhall in Serry after a march. PA
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File photo dated 13/09/83 of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness. PA Wire
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File photo dated 11/05/87 of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and West Belfast MP Martin McGuinness (right) at the funeral of Patrick Kelly, 30, the reputed IRA commander in East Tyrone. PA Wire
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File photo dated 15/03/2000 of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (left) and Martin McGuinness embracing at Dublin Airport. PA
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File photo dated 04/11/03 of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness outside the Guildhall in Derry after giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry, into the Bloody Sunday tribunal. PA
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File photo dated 29/09/10 of former US President Bill Clinton (right)arriving at University of Ulster Magee Campus in Derry to meet First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (centre). Julien Behal/PA Wire
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File photo dated 16/06/8 of Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) and First Minister Peter Robinson (centre) with US President George Bush at Stormont Castle in Belfast. PA Wire
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File photo dated 27/08/95 of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness addressing a Republican rally in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone. PA Wire
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File photo dated 05/11/03 of Martin McGuinness walking past a Bloody Sunday mural in the Bogside in Londonderry. Paul Faith/PA Wire
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Pacemaker Press Belfast 19-09-2016: Martin McGuinness to call on British government to fund legacy inquests. Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness pictured speaking to the media ahead of this afternoon's meeting with British Secretary of State James Brokenshire on the need for the British government to live up to its responsibilities on addressing the legacy of the past. Mr McGuinness will call on the British government to release funding for legacy inquests, including the Ballymurphy massacre cases. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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File photo dated 18/01/01 of Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein standing beside a sentry box outside Hillsborough Castle before a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair. PA
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 8/5/2007. Well done Tony! Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves Stormont Parliment on the first day of the Northern Ireland Assembly with Bertie Ahern watched by First Minister and Deputy First Minister Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker
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File photo dated 06/06/08 of Prime Minister Gordon Brown (left) with Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuiness (right) in the garden at 10 Downing Street, London. PA
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Pacemaker Press 5/3/08 'Business as usual' First Minister Ian Paisley with his Deputy Martin McGuinness at Stormont after a committee meeting. Yesterday Dr Paisleys announcement that he will be stepping down in May from his role as Minister and DUP Leader. Pic Colm Lenaghan/PACEMAKER
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File photo dated 23/06/09 of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness looking at a smashed window at the City Church in the University area of Belfast. Paul Faith/PA Wire
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Pacemaker Press International Belfast 16/7/2007. First and Deputy First Mnister Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness pictured today at Stormont at the British Irish Council meeting 2007 . Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
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PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 10-03-2009: The First Minister Peter Robinson was joined by the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde at a press conference at Belfast Stormont Castle. They condemned the murdered policeman Constable Stephen Paul Carroll, 48, a married man with children from the Banbridge area of County Down Northren Ireland . PICTURE BY: ARTHUR ALLISON.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/11/08 First Minister Peter Robinson (front right) and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (front left),at the Northern Ireland Executive meeting in Stormont Castle ,20th November 2008,The Northern Ireland Executive will met today for the first time since June after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein agreed an end to their stand-off.An economic aid package is expected to top the agenda at today's meeting after a delegation yesterday met Prime Minister Gordon Brown to appeal for financial support.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST 20/11/08 First Minister Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA officially opened a new £9million production plant in Belfast, The investment by Larsen Manufacturing, a market leader in the manufacture and supply of chemicals for the construction industry in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, will boost the companyís production capability, creating up to 30 new jobs Pic Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker
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Pacemaker Press 18.11/08 The First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness's at their joint press conference at Stormont today. The DUP and Sinn Féin have come to an agreement on the devolution of policing and justice which will bring a 152-day deadlock at Stormont to an end. The executive will meet on Thursday 20 November and on a weekly basis until business is up to date, the first and deputy first ministers said. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker
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A vigil is held in west Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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A vigil is held in West Belfast for former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness following his passing on March 21st 2017 (Photo - Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph )
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Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21st March 2017 Members of the public take part in a vigil to pay respects to former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the site of the former Andersonstown Barracks in west Belfast. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.