Powerful new documentary exploring life and legacy of Martin McGuinness to air tonight

Powerful new documentary exploring life and legacy of Martin McGuinness to air tonight

THIS LOOKS like essential viewing for anyone interested in Irish history.

A new documentary is to air tonight exploring the life and legacy of Martin McGuinness: former Provisional IRA leader, eventual peacemaker, Sinn Féin politician and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

McGuinness passed away three years ago on 21 March 2017 at the age of 66, but is remembered each year on his birthday, anniversary and a 'Chieftain's Walk' in his honour.

Now, three years after his death and several months after Sinn Féin enjoyed a spectacular result in the Irish general election, Ireland's national broadcaster is to air a documentary which delves deep into his life.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton stands with with Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in September 2010 in Derry, Northern Ireland.(Photo by Paul Faith - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The official synopsis for the documentary, simply titled McGuinness, sets out his controversial and divisive legacy, being a hero to some and criminal to others:

"McGuinness was a man of huge contradictions, a former IRA leader who plotted a political path to peace, and who eventually became deputy first minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Some lauded him as a peacemaker; others condemned him as a terrorist."

The powerful programme includes interviews with former US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, both of whom were involved in the Good Friday Agreement which brought peace to Northern Ireland.

In the documentary, Clinton describes him as the type of person where "you either admired him or you thought he was the devil incarnate".

Eileen Paisley, widow of former DUP leader Ian Paisley, and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are also among the high-profile interviewees set to make an appearance in McGuinness.

Ian Paisley Snr, who died in 2014, with Martin McGuinness, who passed in 2017. (Picture:PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)

There programme also contains claims the former Provisional IRA leader was a member of the group far longer than 1974, when he claimed he left to pursue change by purely political means.

All in all, the documentary promises to be powerful, revealing and absolutely fascinating; you can catch it at 9.35pm tonight on RTÉ One.