Martin McGuinness: Reaction of British and Irish media to his death

From ‘IRA terrorist’ to ‘peacemaker’: McGuinness’s death made front page news at home and in Britain

The death of Martin McGuinness made the front page of many media outlets at home and abroad today.

The former Northern Ireland deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander died in the early hours of Tuesday morning in hospital in his native Derry, where he had been receiving treatment for a rare health condition.

From being described as a "rebel, gunman, peacemaker" in the Irish Daily Star to "IRA killer can go to hell, say families", in the UK Sun here is how the British and Irish media reacted to this death on their front pages.

Daily Mail

The UK's Daily Mail leads with a composite image featuring the aftermath of two IRA bombings detonated in the years Martin McGuinness was a member. The bombing of two pubs in Guildford on October 5th, 1974 killed seven people and left scores injured. The November 8th, 1987 'Poppy Day' bombing in Enniskillen left 11 dead and 63 wounded.


Irish Daily Mail

The Mail’s Irish edition is much more nuanced and simply features the portrait of a young McGuinness, with a significant amount of coverage dedicated to the life and work of the former deputy first minister in the paper itself.

The Sun

"Unforgiven" is the headline the UK edition of the Sun gives to its coverage of the death of "IRA terrorist" Martin McGuinness. The paper notes that his death comes as a 75 year-old former British soldier faces trial over a 1974 shooting in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Sun

In contrast, the Sun's Irish edition about the North's "peacemaker", carries a quote from Eileen Paisley, window of the late Rev Ian Paisley who said, "It's not how you begin. . . It's how you end".

Daily Star

The UK’s Daily Star carries the death of McGuinness in its offlead, describing him as an “ex-IRA chief turned politician.”

Irish Daily Star

"Rebel, gunman, peacemaker": The Irish edition of the Star features a photo of a "young gun" McGuinness who turned from a life of violence to form "an unlikely alliance with former enemies" and pictures him in later life shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth.

The Times

The Times of London carries a photo of the coffin of Martin McGuinness as it is carried through the Bogside in Derry to his family home.

The Times (Ireland edition)

The Irish edition of the Times carries the same picture as its UK counterpart but dedicates most of its front page to the "peacemaker" and the praise that both friends and enemies have bestowed upon him following his death.

Daily Express

The UK's Daily Express carries a photo of McGuinness meeting the queen in 2014. It notes that while the queen is sending her condolences to the McGuinness family, former Conservative cabinet minister Norman Tebitt, whose wife Margaret was paralysed by an IRA bomb, says the world is a "sweeter place" without the former IRA man.

Daily Telegraph

The Telegraph carries on its front page a photo featuring Michelle O'Neill, the Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland along with Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin president, carrying the coffin of Martin McGuinness. The newspaper's headline focuses on the victims of the IRA.


The same photo of O'Neill and Adams carrying the coffin is featured on the front page of the Guardian with the caption: "Former IRA leader turned politician dies at 66."

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe

Nora-Ide McAuliffe is an Audience Editor with The Irish Times