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Summary

  1. Martin McGuinness, former IRA leader turned peacemaker, has confirmed he will not seek re-election in the Northern Ireland Assembly election.
  2. He quit as deputy first minister earlier this month in a row over a botched green energy scheme, sparking an election on 2 March.
  3. He had been in the post since entering NI's power-sharing assembly in 2007 with ex-political enemy Ian Paisley.
  4. Mr McGuinness, 66, has been ill for a number of weeks and said this was a factor in his decision.

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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McGuinness goes ... as do we!

That's it for our live coverage of Martin McGuinness' decision to stand down from NI politics. Keep up to date with this story throughout the evening on the BBC News NI website.

Martin McGuinness and his wife in Derry
BBC
Martin McGuinness and his wife in Derry

Latimer: Protestant church prayers for McGuinness

A Presbyterian minister has spoken of his 10-year friendship with Martin McGuinness and said Protestant church-goers have been praying for him since his illness was reported.

Rev David Latimer
BBC

The Reverend David Latimer, from First Derry Presbyterian Church, said he had been "inundated with phone calls, text messages and emails from people within the Protestant tradition" wishing Mr McGuinness well. Rev Latimer added that people should not concentrate on his past, but focus on "the man he became”.

Reaction to McGuinness retirement on The View tonight

McGuinness: Education legacy

During Martin McGuinness' tenure as education minister at Stormont, his legacy was the decision to kill off the 11-Plus examination. 

Education Minister Martin McGuinness with from the upper classes of his old school St. Eugines in Derry.
Pacemaker

A political hot potato, it stoked up a fiery glow in the eyes of those opposed to the move.    

McGuinness: Changing rhetoric

Martin McGuinness' evolving language

A picture is worth a thousand words...

There were many seismic moments in the political career of Martin McGuinness and none more so than this.

McGuinness shakes Queen's hand
PA

The handshake between the Queen and Mr McGuinness in 2012 was billed as one of "momentous and historical" significance. Although the gesture stuck in the gullets of many hard-line republicans and loyal servants of the Queen alike, in recent years McGuinness said: "My war is over. My job as a political leader is to prevent that war and I feel very passionate about it."  

Crowds gather outside Martin McGuinness' house in Bogside

Crowds outside Martin McGuinness' house in the Bogside
BBC
Crowds outside Martin McGuinness' house in the Bogside
Crowds outside Martin McGuinness' house in the Bogside
BBC
Crowds outside Martin McGuinness' house in the Bogside

From 'terrorist' to chief negotiator

In 1993, Martin McGuinness was labelled "Britain's number one terrorist" in Central Television's The Cook Report. Mr McGuinness called the report "cowardly and dishonest" television. 

Martin McGuinness
PA

The shift to the politics of peace came slowly. In 1986, the party decided to contest elections in the Republic of Ireland. Ten years later, the landscape in Northern Ireland had changed irrevocably with McGuinness as chief negotiator in the peace process.  

'We came from polar opposite backgrounds'

Former First Minister Peter Robinson has expressed his best wishes to Martin McGuinness on his retirement from elected politics. 

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness
Pacemaker

"Martin will discover, as I have, that there is much to rejoice in having more time with family and less stress with the removal of the responsibilities of office. I pray that he overcomes his health challenges and has the time to do the simple things I know he loves - spending time with his grandchildren, fishing and watching football," he said. 

"We came from polar opposite backgrounds but built up a relationship based on doing the best we could for all our people. We shared the hardships of taking risks for progress and the joy of seeing so many improvements in the lives of our fellow citizens."  

The IRA negotiator

Martin McGuinness, IRA commander turned peacemaker and Northern Ireland deputy first minister, switched from the Armalite to an armistice.

Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams
BBC

In 1972, at the age of 21, he was second-in-command of the IRA in Derry at the time of Bloody Sunday. A year later he flew to London with Gerry Adams for secret talks with the British government and his transition to politics had begun. 

McGuinness addresses party colleagues in Derry

McGuinness arrives in Derry..

SDLP leader wishes McGuinness and his family 'well'

Long: Praises McGuinness 'acts of generosity'

Alliance leader Naomi Long said: “It's particularly sad that he's stepping aside at a time, when the institutions that he invested so much in, are in such a precarious situation.

Naomi Long
BBC

“I wish him good health, and I hope he recovers and can enjoy his retirement, but I also want to thank him for those acts of generosity he displayed, that were able to build the peace process." 

Foster: McGuinness a 'major figure at Stormont'

DUP leader, Arlene Foster, says she and Martin McGuinness had their "political differences" and came from "very different angles of vision." However she described her former political colleague as a "major figure at Stormont" for almost a decade. 

DUP leader Arlene Foster
PA
DUP leader Arlene Foster

In a statement on Thursday, she wished Mr McGuinness a speedy recovery and said she hoped he and his wife "are able to enjoy time with their family away from the relentless focus of public life."      

Ex church leader says McGuinness went on 'journey'

Former Methodist Church President, the Rev Harold Good told the Evening Extra programme: "We would not be where we are in the peace process were it not for what Martin McGuinness has brought. He has sought to understand where others are coming from."

Harold Good
BBC

He was able to bring the republican  movement to a new place - he went on a journey himself and brought others along with him - that is so significant," he added.  

Maskey: McGuinness 'has done a lot to build reconciliation'

Speaking to BBC News NI, Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey said: "He is a close personal friend and comrade - tirelessly committed." 

Maskey
BBC

"He is a man of tremendous leadership qualities and has done a lot in recent years to build reconciliation. Though that isn't always reciprocated a lot of people have respected what he has done as a republican leader."

Tough times growing up in Bogside

Martin McGuinness is one of seven children - six boys and a girl - who grew up in Derry's Bogside in the 1960s.

Martin McGuinness
BBC

Back then the Bogside was hopelessly overcrowded as a result of gerrymandering and the poverty of that time. The McGuinness family of nine had two bedrooms, an outside toilet and a scullery - a tiny working kitchen.

Ruane pays tribute to Martin McGuinness

Brokenshire 'sorry' McGuinness not seeking re-election

Secretary of State James Brokenshire said he had spoken to Martin McGuinness on Thursday evening and told him he was sorry he had decided not to stand for another term in the Assembly.

James Brokenshire
BBC

"I thank him on behalf of the government for his work in securing a number of significant political agreements, as well as his service as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland," he said.  

McGuinness - from paramilitary to politician

As Martin McGuinness steps down from elected politics, BBC News NI looks back at his career.

'I have to be very honest with myself'

Martin McGuinness said he had asked himself whether he was "physically capable" of fighting this election and had had to be "very honest with myself" when answering that question. 

McGuinness: In his own words

I will continue to play a full and enthusiastic part in essential process of building bridges, dialogue & reconciliation -@M_McGuinness_SF

McGuinness had intended to continue until May

Mr McGuinness said it had been his "full intention" to continue until 8 May as deputy first minister and then stand aside to make way for a new Sinn Féin deputy first minister. 

Martin McGuinness
BBC

"That would obviously... have meant a generational change and, of course, people will be very anxious to know who will succeed me but you will know that next week, the person that will succeed me has my fullest confidence."  

'I provided way out for Arlene and she refused'

The controversy surrounding renewable heating scheme led Martin McGuinness to resign as deputy first minister. Calls by Sinn Féin for Arlene Foster to step down were resisted by the then first minister. 

Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster
BBC

Mr McGuinness recalled a conversation with Mrs Foster: "What I'm asking for is your co-operation, to do what Peter (Robinson) did previously, stand aside for three or four weeks to allow an interim report to come in .... and she refused to do it and I think if she had of taken my advice we could have averted all of the difficulties, the extreme difficulties, that we've had to face in the course of recent times." 

McGuinness says 'not physically able to fight election'

Mr McGuinness said of his health situation: "It has taken its toll on me but I'm very determined to overcome it and I'm very determined to overcome it to an extent where I can be very much involved in the whole process of peace, unity and reconciliation.

Former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness
BBC
Former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness

"The question I ask myself is are you capable, are you physically capable of fighting this election with the intensity that elections need to be fought? And the honest answer is that I am not physically capable or able to fight this election so I will not be a candidate in the upcoming election."  

Martin McGuinness not seeking re-election

The former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness has announced he will not be seeking re-election to the Assembly. 

Martin McGuinness
bbc

He resigned earlier this month from his post in protest against the handling of a botched energy scheme that could cost taxpayers £490m. Mr McGuinness said at the time that his health had "nothing to do" with his decision to quit but said in a statement on Thursday that his health situation was a "serious illness".