DUP leader Arlene Foster and her predecessor Peter Robinson are to attend the funeral of Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness in Derry today.
The former deputy first minister died on Tuesday after a short illness.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs Foster said she recognised some will be critical of her decision to attend the former IRA commander’s funeral, but added she wanted to pay “respect to his family”.
Ex-US President Bill Clinton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Irish president Michael D Higgins and his predecessor Mary McAleese are also set to attend.
Secretary of State James Brokenshire will represent the UK Government.
The Catholic Church has said assurances have been given there will be “no paramiltary trappings” at the requiem mass in Columba’s Long Tower chapel in Derry.
The service will begin at 2pm today, with Mr McGuinness’s remains making their way from his Bogside home to the church at 1.20pm.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church said yesterday that while a flag-draped coffin was to be expected, there would be no other visual reminders of the former IRA commander’s terrorist past.
Thousands of mourners are expected at the funeral, which could be the biggest ever seen in the city.
Hours before Mr McGuinness’s funeral, the same church will witness the funeral of popular Derry City FC captain Ryan McBride, 27, who was found dead on Sunday.