Stormont pays tribute to Martin McGuinness

Arlene Foster says "history will have the final say"

Stormont pays tribute to Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness arrives at Stormont for the opening of the new Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007 | Image: RollingNews.ie

Northern Ireland's politicians have been remembering former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness with a special session of the assembly.

The 66-year-old died in hospital after a short illness on Tuesday.

Some victims of the IRA say they will never be able to forgive him for his former role in the leadership of the group.

DUP leader Arlene Foster says she sympathises with those relatives, but acknowledges his contribution to the peace process.

"As in all things history will have the final say," Ms Foster said.

"There's been much talk of my personal relationship with Martin - he never sought to airbrush the past, and neither did I.

"We have been through some very good times and some very dark times. We travelled the world to promote Northern Ireland on the international stage.

"We brought back jobs, boosted our tourism industry - from the Irish Open to Game of Thrones we had some fabulous wins".

There is speculation over whether Ms Foster will attend his funeral on Thursday.

While his successor as Sinn Féin leader at Stormont, Michelle O'Neill said: "He was a gifted political strategist, an orator, a thinker and an occasional angler when he got the chance.

"And in an earlier life he was a talented footballer - or at least that's what he told us."

And Stormont Speaker Robin Newtown said: "Without Martin McGuinness, it is questionable whether there would be an assembly".

Tributes have also been paid to Mr McGuinness from all sides here, while he has also been remembered as a force for change in the peace process.

The Irish Tricolour will fly at half mast at Leinster House tomorrow as he is laid to rest.

His funeral will take place in Derry Thursday afternoon at St Columba's Church Longtower at 2.00pm.