Sunday 30 April 2017

Funeral showed parties can work together, but it will be a different Assembly we see

Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald huddle at Derry City Cemetery after Martin McGuinness’s funeral. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald huddle at Derry City Cemetery after Martin McGuinness’s funeral. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

Behind the words spoken at Martin McGuinness's graveside, cogs were setting wheels in motion. Signals were sent during that oration delivered by Gerry Adams, both to Sinn Féin supporters and republican dissidents.

No doubt there were also pointers embedded within it for the DUP, with whom negotiations are entering a key phase, and for the British government. That tranche of coded messages explains why the tone of his oration had more in common with a Sinn Féin ard fheis than the Prayers for the Dead you might expect beside an open grave.

Much of what was seen and heard at the pageantry-rich funeral in Derry on Thursday formed a strand of the negotiations, from the DUP presence in the church to the language used in the graveside set-piece.

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