Martin McGuinness established roadmap for Irish Unity - Carthy

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Reacting to the death of the former Deputy First Minister, the Alliance Party representative said that while the Sinn Fein man's IRA past can not be forgotten, his efforts towards peace and stability must also be acknowledged. Snow has been pelting down in Derry for the last few hours.

He played a key role in negotiating the landmark Good Friday agreement four years later and ended up sharing power in 2007 with his one-time foe, Democratic Unionist leader Dr Ian Paisley.

Former prime minister, Tony Blair, who worked with McGuinness on securing peace in the region, described him as a "formidable foe" during the armed struggle and a "formidable peacemaker" later.

While we certainly didn't always see eye-to-eye even in later years, as deputy First Minister for almost a decade he was one of the pioneers of implementing cross community power sharing in Northern Ireland. With his curly reddish hair and broad bare forehead, he looked more like the singer Art Garfunkel than the cold-blooded Irish Republican Army leader many Protestants saw.

By the early 70s, at age 21, McGuinness was second-in-command of the IRA in Derry and was part of an IRA delegation flown to London for secret peace talks with the British government. Three centuries later, McGuinness stood firm on the same spot as the undisputed general of Irish republicanism, observing calmly as masked youths nearby hurled rocks, bricks and the occasional flaring petrol bomb at rows of armored police cars 100 yards away.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Martin McGuinness in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on June 27, 2012.

Alliance leader Naomi Long paid tribute to Mr McGuinness for his "pivotal role in bringing the violent campaign to an end and moving us to the place we are in today". She knows I was a member of the IRA.

Ireland's President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have both confirmed that they will attend the funeral.

John Eaglesham, whose father - a postman and part-time soldier - was shot dead by the IRA in 1978, said: "People say about what he has done for the peace process".

Leading unionists in Northern Ireland have acknowledged the role McGuinness played in the transition to peace.

In nearly 10 years as Deputy First Minister, McGuinness's energy was devoted to keeping the show on the road and proving that Sinn Fein could make the new devolved institutions work. Will never forget his ongoing care for my father in his ill health.

Lord Tebbit, whose wife Margaret was permanently paralysed by the IRA's 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton said: 'The world is a sweeter and cleaner place, isn't it?

The idea of the British monarch sitting somewhere in the gilded rooms of Buckingham Palace, writing a kind note to Bernie McGuinness, is the strongest symbolic evidence yet that Martin McGuinness deserves to be mourned and praised as a gunman-turned-statesman, as someone who took then saved lives.

Mrs Foster said those who claimed Northern Ireland had not changed were wrong.

McGuinness later become a lawmaker in the British parliament although, in line with Sinn Fein policy, he did not take his seat in Westminster.

He said that he was confident that Mr Quinlivan "touched a chord with the people of this city and will do very well in the forthcoming election".