Gerry Adams reaches out to unionists in graveside oration of Martin McGuinness

Update 5.50pm: Delivering the graveside oration for Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams appealed for his legacy to be built on by achieving equality and freedom in Ireland.

Deputy Adams began by describing the loss being felt by so many people today. “This week, Ireland lost a hero. 

"Derry lost a son. Sinn Féin lost a leader and I lost a dear friend and a comrade, but Martin’s family has suffered the biggest loss of all.

“They have lost a loving, caring, dedicated husband, father and grandfather, a brother and an uncle.”

In a concise and eloquent speech, Gerry Adams concluded by reaching out to unionists.

“So, here at the graveside of this good man, let me appeal to our unionist neighbours.

“Let us learn to like each other, to be friends, to celebrate and enjoy our differences and to do so on the basis of common sense, respect and tolerance for each other and everyone else as equals.

“Let me appeal also to nationalists and republicans; do nothing to disrespect our unionist neighbours or anyone else.

“Stand against bigotry. Stand against sectarianism. Respect our unionist neighbours. Reach out to them.

“Lead, as Martin led, by example.”

Update 4pm: The funeral of Martin McGuinness has heard that the best tribute to his legacy would be to continue and complete the work of peace.

That is according to former US president Bill Clinton, who also thanked DUP leader Arlene Foster for attending the funeral.

Mr. Clinton also prompted applause for Taoiseach Enda Kenny for his comments about immigration in Washington on St Patrick’s Day.

Martin McGuinness’s remains will shortly be removed to the City Cemetery in Derry, where thousands of people lined the streets to watch his remains pass by.

Giving the final eulogy, Clinton tried to give the eulogy McGuinness would have given for himself:

Watch a live stream of the funeral here:

Update 2.55pmMartin McGuinness’s funeral mass has heard he was a ‘remarkable man and his life was a remarkable journey’.

Thousands of people followed his tricolour-draped coffin through the Bogside to St Columba’s Church.

Former US President Bill Clinton, former SDLP Leader John Hume and DUP Leader Arlene Foster are among those in attendance.

Martin McGuinness’s wife Bernie (centre) follows his coffin is it arrives at St Columba’s Church .

Martin McGuinness will be laid to rest in City Cemetery later - following a graveside oration by Gerry Adams.

Opening the funeral mass - Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown said the best legacy to Martin McGuinness was the congregation of all faiths and backgrounds.

“It is a tribute to those who didn’t just talk the talk but walked the walk of implementing the Good Friday Agreement, that all three of those strands are so well represented here this afternoon. The Northern Ireland strand, leaders of a number of parties - it is wonderful to have you here, thank you for coming.”

The funeral of Northern Ireland’s former deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander Martin McGuinness takes place at St Columba’s Church Long Tower.

Chief Celebrant Fr Michael Canny said the scene at St Columba’s church would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

“The presence of political rivals and opponents among you who have come to pay your respects this afternoon - your coming is the most eloquent testimony to the memory of Martin McGuinness. When you seek a monument for the man who brought us here today, look around you. By your presence, you are his monument.”

Update 1.50pm: The coffin of Martin McGuinness has left his home in Derry’s Bogside ahead of his funeral.

A piper played as his coffin was carried onto the street where a tricolour flag was placed on top by members of Sinn Féin.

The crowd broke into applause as family members slowly carried the coffin along the street.

Mr McGuinness’ wife Bernie carried the coffin as it made its way along part of the route the civil rights march took on Bloody Sunday in 1972.

Martin McGuinness’ coffin is carried into the Bogside. Picture: PA

The procession then made its way past the iconic Free Derry Wall mural. After a slow walk through the streets, the funeral procession arrived at the church an hour after leaving the family home.

Thousands gathered outside the church broke into applause as the procession entered church grounds.

He will soon be laid to rest at City Cemetery, with a final farewell being led by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams in a graveside oration.

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill (front), Mary Lou McDonald (middle) and Gerry Adams (back), carry the coffin during the funeral procession of Martin McGuinness, ahead of his funeral at St Columba’s Church Long Tower. Picture: PA

Thousands packed the streets as the body of the former Stormont deputy first minister and ex-IRA commander left his street for the final time.

President Michael D Higgins and his predecessor, Mary McAleese, are attending the funeral, as is Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Former US president Bill Clinton and ex-Democratic Unionist Stormont first ministers Peter Robinson and Arlene Foster are also attending the Requiem Mass in Derry for the Sinn Féin veteran.

A piper continued to play as the coffin was carried down the hill, through the former first minister’s beloved city.

The funeral procession stopped and the coffin was then handed over to be carried by members of Sinn Féin leadership, including Gerry Adams and Michelle O’Neill.

The 66-year-old died on Tuesday from a rare heart condition.

Mr McGuinness’s beloved Bogside neighbourhood came to a standstill as his remains were walked to the Long Tower church.

Martin McGuinness’ coffin is carried down Westland Street into the Bogside in Derry ahead of his funeral today. Picture: PA

There was a round of applause inside the church as Mrs Foster took her seat.

The symbolism of the leader of unionism attending a former IRA man’s funeral is highly significant - even more so in Mrs Foster’s case, as her father survived an IRA murder bid during the Troubles and she herself was on a school bus caught up in an IRA bombing as a child.

Crowds outside the church applauded when Mr Clinton arrived.

Earlier:

Thousands of people will turn out in the City of Derry today for the funeral of Martin McGuinness.

The former IRA commander turned Deputy First Minister died from a rare heart condition on Tuesday aged 66.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Michael D Higgins, his predecessor Mary McAleese, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair will be among those at Requiem mass at St Columba’s Church at 2pm today.

A woman signs a book of condolence for Martin McGuinness at the Mansion House in Dublin. Pixcture: PA

It will be the second funeral of the day attended by the President, who will also go to footballer Ryan McBride’s service in Derry this morning.

Mr McGuinness’s beloved Bogside neighbourhood will come to a standstill during this afternoon’s service at the Long Tower church.

It is set to be an extraordinary day of mourning in Derry. Hours before Mr McGuinness’s funeral, the same church will witness the funeral of the popular captain of Derry City FC Ryan McBride, 27, was found dead in his bed on Sunday.

Mr McGuinness’s death came in the midst of a political crisis at Stormont, with talks ongoing to form a new powersharing executive following the acrimonious collapse of the last administration.

Politicians from both sides of the North’s community divide will attend his funeral.

Former Democratic Unionist leader Mr Robinson is expected to be there, while it is understood that DUP leader Arlene Foster will also attend.

The former First Minister still hadn’t confirmed her attendance by late last night.

Though thousands of supporters have lauded the legacy of Mr McGuinness, his death has drawn a very different response from many victims of the IRA, with some bereaved relatives not prepared to forgive him for his paramilitary past.

Many political leaders at Westminster and Belfast commended his contribution to the peace process.

British Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament she could never condone the ex-IRA commander’s violent past but she credited his "indispensable" role in moving the Republican movement away from armed conflict.

At a special session of the Stormont Assembly, Mr McGuinness’s Sinn Féin successor Michelle O’Neill paid an emotional tribute while Mrs Foster acknowledged that Northern Ireland would "never see his like again".

Mrs O’Neill told the Assembly her heart was broken yet bursting with pride.

"The legacy that Martin wished was for a better future based on equality and measured by the joy and laughter of all of our children," she said.

"So, on behalf of Sinn Féin I rededicate our party to completing his life’s work and to living through his legacy."

Mrs Foster said Mr McGuinness’s legacy was "complex and challenging".

"Things have fundamentally changed since I was growing up in the 70s and 80s and changed immeasurably for the better and Martin McGuinness did play a role which I will always condemn in the 70s and 80s, but I also have to acknowledge the role that he played over this last decade and more in government in Northern Ireland," she said.

Mr McGuinness completed an extraordinary political journey from an IRA leader in Derry to sharing power and a remarkable friendship with his erstwhile foe, DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley.

He also struck up a warm relationship with the Queen, whom he praised for her contribution to peace. She is to send a personal message to Mr McGuinness’s family.

Mr McGuinness’s last major act as a politician was to pull down the powersharing executive at Stormont when he resigned as deputy first minister in January in protest at the DUP’s handling of a green energy scandal.


 

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