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Summary Article: McGuinness, Martin from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Northern Ireland nationalist politician and chief negotiator for Sinn Féin, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), deputy first minister of Northern Ireland from 2007. He has been a UK member of Parliament for Mid Ulster since 1997, and a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly following the implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. He served as minister of education in Northern Ireland from 1999 until the suspension of the devolved power-sharing administration in 2002. He became deputy first minister to Ian Paisley, the first minister from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), after Sinn Féin finished in second place after the May 2007 elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and was reappointed as deputy to Peter Robinson in 2008.

Following the IRA's announcement in 1994 of a cessation of its military operations, he represented Sinn Féin exploratory contacts with the UK government. Later, he was chief negotiator in the formal peace talks leading up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. In the 1997 UK general election he was elected as Sinn Féin member for the Mid Ulster constituency and was re-elected in 2001, 2005, and 2010, although he did not take his seat at the Westminster House of Commons.

Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, he became involved in the Catholic civil rights movement in the late 1960s and joined Sinn Féin 1970. Although convicted and imprisoned in the early 1970s for terrorism-related offences, he denied having been a member of the IRA until 2001, when he admitted his early attachment to the group. In 1982 he was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly (which was dissolved in 1986), but was excluded from entering the rest of the UK under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

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