Sunday 19 November 2017

'Our hearts are broken' - Family of Martin McGuinness release 'thank you' statement

Bernie McGuinness helps to carry her husband Martin McGuinness’s coffin through the
streets of Derry yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Bernie McGuinness helps to carry her husband Martin McGuinness’s coffin through the streets of Derry yesterday. Photo: Reuters
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

The wife of Martin McGuinness has thanked all those who offered their condolences this week and said the family's "hearts are broken".

Bernie McGuinness released a statement through Sinn Féin this morning, saying her family wished to thank everyone from those who attended vigils, to those who made sandwiches for the funeral.

The death of Martin McGuinness (66), a politician and one-time IRA commander, was announced in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"On my own behalf and Martin’s family I want to thank all of those who have offered their condolences since Martin’s death, including the countless people who sent messages, mass cards and prayers," Mrs McGuinness said.

"I want to thank the doctors and the nurses who looked after Martin during his illness.

"I also want to express our deep appreciation of the many thousands of people who attended vigils in the course of the week in many parts of Ireland and overseas.

Martin McGuinness addressing Nationalists outside the Guildhall in Derry after a march. Photo: Brian Little/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness addressing Nationalists outside the Guildhall in Derry after a march. Photo: Brian Little/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness speaking at an election press conference in Belfast. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) meeting Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams (right) and chief negotiator Martin McGuinness in 10 Downing Street. Photo: Richard Pohle/PA Wire
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (left) and First Minister Peter Robinson (right) greeting US President George Bush at Stormont Castle in Belfast. Photo: Stephen Wilson/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein standing beside a sentry box outside Hillsborough Castle before a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly, arriving at Stormont. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness smiling after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (right) and Martin McGuinness carrying the coffin of former senior IRA commander Brian Keenan in west Belfast. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness leaving 10 Downing St after a meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and his deputy Martin McGuinness (left) with party aides outside No10 Downing Street before meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair for peace talks. Photo: Adam Butler/PA Wire
Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness with party colleagues during a press conference at Stormont. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness speaking to the media after a meeting with Government officials at Castle Buildings, Stormont. Photo: PA Wire
Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein standing beside a table where his votes are being counted after the Northern Ireland Assembly election in Ballymena, Co Antrim. Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness, leading Sinn Fein negotiator in the peace process, attending a news conference in the House of Commons. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Former US President Bill Clinton with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the University of Ulster Magee campus in Derry. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in 1996. Photo: David Giles/PA Wire
Former US President Bill Clinton (right)arriving at University of Ulster Magee Campus in Derry to meet First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (centre). Photo: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness walking past a Bloody Sunday mural in the Bogside in Co Derry. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness looking at a smashed window at the City Church in the University area of Belfast. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness (left) and Gerry Adams addressing the media after their meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness in 1995 addressing a Republican rally in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone. Photo: PA Wire
Martin McGuinness outside the Guildhall in Co Derry after giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry, into the Bloody Sunday tribunal. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Martin McGuinness at the announcement of the first preference votes in the Irish Presidential Election at the count centre at Dublin castle. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

“From Martin’s return home on Tuesday, and until we left for the funeral service on Thursday, long queues of people visited our home. The family took great comfort from their presence. I want to thank the local businesses who during this time very kindly provided food and sandwiches for those visiting the house,"she continued.

Mrs McGuinness said they appreciated the "outpouring of love and solidarity" shown at her late husband's funeral on Thursday.

"Finally, I want to thank all of Martin’s comrades in Sinn Féin, especially here in Derry, the many stewards, the friends who travelled from overseas, and in particular all of those who attended or participated in the funeral service in Long Tower Church and at the Republican Plot, including the singers and the musicians," she continued.

"I and our entire family have been touched by the efforts of so many to provide solace and comfort to us throughout this very difficult period.

"Martin was my husband, a father and a grandfather.

"He was a republican activist for all of his adult life.

"He was passionate about his political beliefs but also about his many other interests.

"Despite the frequency with which his political activism took him away from our home and family, he was at heart a proud family man who took great delight in the accomplishments of our children and grandchildren. He loved his family. And we love him. Our hearts are broken."

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