Derry prepares for Martin McGuinness funeral

The 66-year-old died yesterday after a short illness

Derry prepares for Martin McGuinness funeral

Hundreds walked with Martin McGuinness' coffin through his native Derry | Image: Richard Chambers

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to Martin McGuinness in Derry overnight.

A vigil was held in his honour after the former Deputy First Minister and IRA leader was brought home one last time.

He passed away early yesterday following a short illness at the age of 66.

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

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "Martin will always be remembered for the remarkable political journey that he undertook in his lifetime. Not only did Martin come to believe that peace must prevail, he committed himself to working tirelessly to that end."

Hundreds walked with his coffin through his native Derry | Image: Richard Chambers

British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "While I can never condone the path he took in the earlier part of his life, Martin McGuinness ultimately played a defining role in leading the Republican movement away from violence. In doing so, he made an essential and historic contribution to the extraordinary journey of Northern Ireland from conflict to peace."

And President Michael D Higgins said: "The world of politics and the people across this island will miss the leadership he gave, shown most clearly during the difficult times of the peace process, and his commitment to the values of genuine democracy that he demonstrated in the development of the institutions in Northern Ireland.

"As President of Ireland, I wish to pay tribute to his immense contribution to the advancement of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland - a contribution which has rightly been recognised across all shades of opinion."

A candlelit vigil took place at GPO in Dublin to remember Mr McGuinness on Tuesday night.

A candlelit vigil at GPO in Dublin to remember Martin McGuinness | Image:

A book of condolence has also opened in Derry.

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

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

Fr Gary Donegan, who has also been recognised for his own peacekeeping role, says the Sinn Féin leader had a complex life.

"He was a very, very likeable person, a very personable guy.

"And quite often even people who maybe hadn't a lot of time for him prior to meeting him were almost disarmed by his personality".