Northern Ireland

McGuinness health concerns are private matter - Adams

Martin McGuinness Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Martin McGuinness was an IRA commander before making the transition into politics

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said the McGuinness family has asked for privacy, amid reports about Martin McGuinness' failing health.

Mr Adams would not be drawn on speculation the former deputy first minister was seriously ill.

The Irish News reported on Monday that the republican figurehead, 66, has spent the last two weeks in hospital.

He did not stand in Thursday's election due to his ill-health, believed to be caused by a rare heart condition.

Mr McGuinness stood down from his post in January in protest against the Democratic Unionist Party's handling of an energy scandal, triggering the snap election.

He was notably absent during Sinn Féin's successful election campaign and did not attend his local polling station with his wife, Bernie, to vote.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption A frail-looking Martin McGuinness in January when he announced his retirement from politics

The last Assembly collapsed when Mr McGuinness resigned over former First Minister Arlene Foster's refusal to step aside pending an inquiry into the flawed green energy initiative, which could cost Northern Ireland taxpayers £490m.

He was at the heart of the power-sharing government which followed the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and was deputy first minister from 2007 to 2017.

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Media captionMartin McGuinness, from paramilitary to politician

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