Sinn Fein's McGuinness 'contemplated' ill-fated flight
The North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness revealed today that he had considered taking the ill-fated flight which subsequently crashed at Cork Airport.
He was due to campaign in the wider Cork area in support of his party, Sinn Fein, which is contesting the Republic's General Election.
At a press conference in Belfast City Airport, Mr McGuinness said: "This is a very shocking and deeply saddening event.
"The loss of lives is awful and our hearts go out to the families of all those who have been bereaved and indeed the families of those people who have been injured."
He said the Stormont administration was in contact with police on both sides of the border and was offering all assistance it could.
Mr McGuinness added: "This is a route I have travelled on a number of occasions. In fact, I am going to be in Munster tomorrow and I had contemplated travelling on this flight, but that changed due to other circumstances.
"So I am very conscious of the fact that this is a flight that is frequented by people from the business community, people who have family reasons to travel to Cork and indeed people who are involved in tourism.
"Our hearts are broken for those people who have lost loved ones in this incident and we want to send our condolences and very deep sympathy on what is a very tragic and traumatic time for themselves."