SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor, has expressed his deep regret at the announcement by Sinn Fein leader, and former Northern Ireland deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, of his retirement from public office. “Working people across the country have reason to be grateful to Martin McGuinness for his central role in bringing to an end the decades long and tragic conflict in the North. He displayed courage and vision in his role as a negotiator and political leader in the quest for a peaceful future,” Jack O’Connor said.“A lifelong republican socialist, he has been committed to the principles of those who gave their lives for Irish freedom whom we celebrated last year during the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.“It is a matter of deep regret that he has been forced to stand down prematurely from public office, particularly at this time of political instability and uncertainty. We extend our earnest hope to Martin and his family that he can recover from his illness and enjoy a healthy and rewarding future.”