Local TD Carries McGuinness’ Coffin During Derry Funeral
Thursday, 30 March 2017
AS Derry came to a standstill for the funeral of Martin McGuinness last week, one Offaly TD said she was 'honoured' to help carry his coffin on the day.
Offaly Sinn Fein TD Deputy Carol Nolan was among the many dignitaries from across Ireland and beyond to attend the funeral of the former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland on Thursday, March 23 last. With an estimated 25,000 people believed to have attended, high profile mourners included a myriad of political leaders, past and present, from former US President, Bill Clinton, President Michael D. Higgins, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, former Taoisigh Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern, John Hume and former president Mary McAleese.
However, one of the most notable attendances was by the DUP's Arlene Foster, along with her colleague and former First Minister, Peter Robinson. It in fact drew a round of applause from the gathered congregation on the day. Speaking to the Tribune this week, Deputy Nolan said she was 'deeply saddened' to hear of Martin's passing. The Sinn Fein TD had gotten to know Mr McGuinness 'well' over the last number of years and the former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland was present only last year at the Offaly TD's election rally in Tullamore. She also met him several times in both Leinster House and Stormont Parliament Buildings.
'I always found him to be a man of integrity, a man of principle and a true republican and a Statesman. Martin didn't just talk about republican ideals. He lived his life by them, each and every day through his actions.' Continuing, Deputy Nolan pointed out that the Sinn Fein veteran had 'reached out' to the Unionist community over the years. 'He did everything he could in terms of bringing peace to our Island. Martin was central to that process. He made the difficult decisions. He risked his life for the cause of peace and justice.'
'He certainly inspired and challenged us. He always led from the front and I felt his funeral was a very emotional and difficult day. The outpouring of sympathy from all sections of the community, from all politicians, was genuine and heartfelt. People have now come to realise what this man did for the country and what a huge asset he was.' Speaking about Arlene Foster's presence at the funeral, the local TD said she was 'delighted' to see her there. 'We do need to move forward and we need to bring this country forward.
There's no reason why all traditions can't work together. As a republican that is how I feel and that is how Martin felt as well, that this is possible. It's a small Island and there should be a good relationship between all traditions and equality should also be part of that.'
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