The late Martin McGuinness
The funeral will take place in Derry today of former Northern Ireland deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, who was Sinn Fein's chief negotiator during the peace process. President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, DUP leader Arlene Foster, former US president Bill Clinton and former British prime minister Tony Blair are expected to attend the requiem mass in the Church of Long Tower.
Huge numbers of people from Donegal will be among the thousands expected to go to Derry for the funeral later today.
Meanwhile, Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin TD, has said that Martin McGuinness’ contributions have meant that republicans of his generation were not faced with the question of whether to join the IRA.
The Donegal deputy, who led the tributes locally, put his reflections on the contributions of the late former deputy first minister in the North in a personal context during a discussion on “Tonight With Vincent Browne” on Tuesday.
“I wasn’t born when Martin McGuinness joined the IRA,” Deputy Doherty said. However, he said he would like to believe that if he lived in the Bogside as a young man and had seen friends shot by the British Army, or marchers shot down on Bloody Sunday, “as the State stood idly by”, that he would “hope that I would have the power of my convictions to join the IRA at that time as well”.
Similarly, Deputy Doherty said that he would hope, “if I were alive 100 years ago in this city that I would be inside the GPO and not outside the GPO”.
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.
Deputy Doherty was among those who paid tribute to Mr. McGuinness after news emerged on Tuesday of his death at age 66.
Deputy Doherty was a teenager when he first met Mr. McGuinness and said that while Mr. McGuinness was “a true son of Derry”, he also had a great affinity for Donegal. Mr. McGuinness’ mother was from Donegal, “and he spent many an evening walking in the Inishowen peninsula”, Deputy Doherty recalled. Mr. McGuinness would also come to Donegal quite often when Deputy Doherty stood for elections, he said.
Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Terence Slowey, on behalf of councillors and council management and staff, has extended his deepest sympathy to Mr. McGuinness’ family and loved ones.
Books of condolence in Mr. McGuinness’ memory have been opened at council offices in Lifford, Letterkenny, Donegal town, Dungloe, Carndonagh and Milford, and the former town council offices in Buncrana.