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Saturday 25 November 2017

Mary Lou McDonald becomes emotional during Dáil speeches on McGuinness

Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin McGuinness at the Sinn Fein ard fheis at The Convention Centre in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and Martin McGuinness at the Sinn Fein ard fheis at The Convention Centre in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald became emotional as she paid tribute to Martin McGuinness in the Dáil today.

The party’s deputy leader struggled to maintain her composure as she told TDs he was "an IRA volunteer, a risk taker, a hope giver".

She said Mr McGuinness was "born into an orange discriminatory state", saw his family treated as second class citizens and "endured terror”.

"Martin chose to stand up and be counted. He chose to fight injustice. He chose to fight back.

"Martin joined the IRA. Martin never resiled from his ambition or duty to defend his city," Ms McDonald said.

She joked that he had "hit it off rather well" with Queen Elizabeth when they met in 2011.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the former deputy first minister’s passing represented "a significant loss to the wider political landscape on this island and beyond".

He said Mr McGuinness made a "remarkable political journey" and was one of the "architects of the Good Friday Agreement".

"His relationship wit the late Ian Paisley was remarkable given the very different political background that they came from," the Taoiseach said.

"His legacy of leadership will no doubt inspire the next generation of leaders in Northern Ireland."

Speaking on behalf of Fianna Fáil, Michael McGrath said the McGuinness family should take "some consolation from the great accolades" that have been made since news of his death broke this morning.

He said it was "a very sad moment in the shared history of the island of Ireland".

Mr McGrath added that he had "removed himself from conflict… this will be a very significant part of his legacy".

He described Mr McGuinness’s friendship with the late Ian Paisley as "incredible looking back on it now".

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said the former IRA commander "came to realise that the way to peace is through understanding, through empathy and through compromise, not through other means".

He said history would determined Mr McGuinness’s full  legacy.

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