Thousands throng McGuinness funeral in Derry

McGuinness' Sinn Fein party said he died in a hospital in his hometown of Londonderry following a short illness.

Martin McGuinness, the Irish Republican Army chieftain who turned away from violence to forge bonds with Northern Ireland's Protestants, was laid to rest Thursday in a cross-community service that illustrated the new alliances forged by the region's slow-blooming peace process.

"There is also a bus going to Derry on Thursday for anyone who wishes to attend the funeral".

Mrs Foster then recalled her personal experience of the man himself: "We attended many joint announcements together and one that sticks in my mind is the opening of the Seamus Heaney Homeplace".

Referring to Mr. McGuinness' IRA past she said that she can not forget that "there will be empty chairs and broken hearts as a result of the terrorism Martin McGuinness supported".

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. Also presiding at the Mass was Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry, who formally welcomed the family, distinguished visitors and the congregation. "He made honorable compromises and was strong enough to keep them, and came to be trusted because his word was good".

"He expanded the definition of "us", and shrunk the definition of "them".

This is not to equate understanding Martin McGuinness with condoning the actions he was complicit in; but not to engage with the environment that created him (as well as those who took a different path) is wilful, culpable, political astigmatism.

"As Mayor of the city and surrounding district I know that many people are today both in shock and deeply saddened by his passing".

"Even more, he earned the right to ask us to honour his legacy by our living - to finish the work that is there to be done".

Mr Clinton was introduced to Mr McGuinness's widow, Bernie, and his children by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

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