Thousands attend funeral service for Martin McGuinness in Londonderry

Ireland's most senior Churchman has expressed the hope that an end to the political impasse in the North will be the legacy of Martin McGuinness who has died aged 66.

President Michael D Higgins and former president, Mary McAleese, will also attend requiem mass along with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

However, explaining her decision, she said: "Having worked with Martin McGuinness for nearly a decade, I want to pay my respects to his family on the occasion of his death".

Fr Canny said: "The presence of those political rivals and opponents among you, who have come to pay your respects this afternoon, is the most eloquent testimony to the memory of Martin McGuinness".

The funeral of Martin McGuinness has begun in Londonderry's Bogside.

Looking down on a coffin draped in an Irish Tricolour, the former U.S. president, who was central to the Good Friday Agreement negotiations, implored today's leaders to pick up where Mr. McGuinness left off.

Some, no doubt, will have wished the former IRA commander good riddance but politicians past and present joined family and friends to hear an impassioned eulogy from former US President Bill Clinton.

While it is understood DUP leader Arlene Foster will also attend the funeral, after much speculation. "To finish the work that is there to be done".

Mr McGuinness, who was at one time the IRA's second-in-command in Derry, was later appointed as Sinn Féin's chief negotiator in the talks that led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Following the two-hour service, a hearse carried McGuinness' coffin to a special section of the City Cemetery reserved for IRA and Sinn Fein figures.

Mrs Foster was warmly applauded as she entered the church.

"He knew only too well how many people struggled with his IRA past". Foster shook hands with Michelle O'Neill, Mr. McGuinness' successor, in an act of peace.

However, Deputy Doherty said, "Because of Martin's contributions, the generation of republicans that I come from didn't have to take that course of action", because Mr. McGuinness' endeavours with others ensured a peaceful democratic path to Irish unity.

  • Leroy Wright