Full Name: James Martin Pacelli McGuinness (Séamus Máirtín Pacelli Mag Aonghusa)
Profession: Sinn Féin Leader
Why Famous: McGuinness is known as an Irish politician, but also for his involvement in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
He joined the IRA in 1969, and in 1972 was second-in-command for Derry. He was convicted in 1973 after being arrested near a car containing explosive and nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
A short while later, McGuinness became prominent in Sinn Féin, the political wing of the movement. This led to him being elected in 1982 as representative for Londonderry in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
When he was later accused of involvement in IRA violence, McGuinness rejected this and stated: "I have never been in the IRA. I don't have any sway over the IRA."
McGuinness was notably involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, ultimately resulting in the Good Friday Agreement. He was lauded for his involvement in negotiations, and in ensuring the agreement was enforced, by both Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.
Since then McGuinness continued to play an active role in Irish politics, including as Minister of Education, until his death in 2017.
- 1972-12-31 Martin McGuinness is arrested and held under the new Republic of Ireland legislation
- 2007-05-08 A new Northern Ireland Executive is formed with Ian Paisley (Democratic Unionist Party) as First Minister and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) as Deputy First Minister