Martin McGuinness, who was the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and the leader of Sinn Fein from May 2007 to January 2017, died on Tuesday at age 66 after a battle with a rare disease called amyloidosis. He is survived by his wife, Bernadette Canning, and their four children.
McGuinness and his wife were married for over 40 years. Their children are daughters Grainne and Fionnuala, and sons Fiachra and Emmett.
Here’s what you need to know about McGuinness’ kids.
1. Their Parents Were Married for 42 Years
McGuinness and his wife Bernadette Canning McGuinness married in 1974. According to the Daily Mail, the two tied the knot a week after he was released in jail after being charged with being a member of the IRA. The Mail notes that Bernadette was also once charged with having a gun, but was found not guilty. They spend their honeymoon in Dublin.
The Irish News reports that the couple couldn’t get married in Derry, so they were married at St. Mary’s Church, Cockhill.
The U.K. Metro reported that McGuinness’ family was by his bedside when he died.
“He was a passionate republican who worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation and for the reunification of his country. But above all he loved his family and the people of Derry and he was immensely proud of both,” Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said in a statement.
The former IRA commander had been diagnosed with a rare disease in January 2017.
2. Grianne is McGuinness’ Eldest Child
Grainne is the eldest of McGuinness’ four children. As noted in a 1997 Irish Times profile of Grainne, she was perused by photographers, who thought she would be a great model. She ultimately declined to follow that career path. A photograph of Grianne won second prize at the U.K. Fujifilm Portrait Photographer competition.
The former Conservative politician said that the world is a “sweeter place” now that Martin McGuinness has died.
3. Emmett Is an Environmental, Health & Safety Advisor
According to his LinkedIn page, Emmett McGuinness works as an Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Advisor in Ireland. He currently works in that role for Siemens, the largest manufacturing and electronics company based in Europe.
He has also worked as an EHS advisor for McCallion Construction from 2015 to 2016 and at Primark Stores Limited from 2012 to 2015. He does have a public Twitter account.
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4. Fiachra Is a Former Electrician
McGuinness’ son Fiachea is a former electrician, according to his Facebook page.
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5. His Children Decided to Avoid Politics
According to a 2000 Guardian profile of McGuinness, his children showed they did not have any interest in following their father into politics. He was described as being “famously protective” of the children, keeping them out of the public eye. However, the media did learn that his two daughters worked at local shops at the time.
Their father’s health had been declining in recent weeks. On March 6, Irish News reported that he was hospitalized and The Independent noted that he didn’t attend a post-election party to celebrate Sinn Fein’s success.
Fiachara did tweet, “I know a man that’s absolutely buzzing” after the election results came in. He also wrote that his father voted, but didn’t say if he did so in person or by mail.
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