“He personally chose to leave the road to violence behind and take the more exacting road to peace and reconciliation”. This is the start of the “tribute” that the archbishop of Armagh, monsignor Eamon Martin, primate of Ireland, pays to Martin McGuinness, the former IRA commander, then leader of the Sinn Fein, then deputy prime minister of the independent joint government of Northern Ireland, who passed away last night at the age of 66, after a short, rare disease. Martin McGuinness was one of the greatest authors of the IRA ceasefire and the Belfast Agreement, also known as “Good Friday Agreement”. “He was a brave leader – archbishop Eamon Martin writes –, who risked and brought other people with him, convincing them that their goals could be achieved through politics and persuasion”. “The history of the Irish conflict – the archbishop points out today – has brought lots of pain and caused lots of traumas. I thank God that, in the last few years, we have preferred peace to the horror of violence and war. People like Martin McGuinness have hugely contributed to peace, by stretching out a hand of friendship and reconciliation and by being ready to shape alternative options to controversy and division. Martin’s open, friendly and warm personality dispelled suspicions and helped build trust with those who came from very different perspectives”. “He knew that peace could help and that it was worth working to accomplish it in his lifetime”.