“I would like on my own behalf, and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil party, to extend our best wishes to Martin McGuinness on his retirement and our hope that he is able to overcome what is a very serious health situation.
“I will not pretend to agree with many of the positions which he has taken over the last forty years, but I believe he has sought to be a constructive force in trying to make the post-Good Friday Agreement institutions work.

“As I have no doubt he would agree, during our time as education ministers we had a very positive and active working relationship which was absolutely focused on delivering for all communities.  We also worked closely in the tortuous negotiations leading up to the devolution of Justice powers to Stormont.

“We wish Martin McGuinness well and hope that those assuming leadership roles in Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland will learn from his example over the last ten years and renew the commitment to making these institutions work.

“His positive comments when announcing his retirement this afternoon on the future of power sharing after this election confirm his political pragmatism.  Once again, I and my party wish Martin and his family all the very best for the future.”