Sinn Fein is to pay a special tribute to the late Martin McGuinness at this weekend’s Ard Fheis in Dublin.
It’s understood the appreciation will take place on Saturday evening ahead of Gerry Adams’ presidential address.
Members of Mr McGuinness’ family, accompanied by a large contingent from Derry, are expected to travel to the RDS to attend the tribute.
Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney says thousands of party members and supporters will have the opportunity to pay tribute to “our much-loved comrade and leader” at this weekend’s event.
Mr McGuinness’ legacy, says the Assemblyman, is “huge”.
This is a view shared by Martina Anderson MEP who says: “Martin was always a towering figure at Ard Fheiseanna as republicans from across Ireland listened intently to his analysis.
“He will be sorely missed at this year’s event, as he is every day, but he will be in all of our hearts.
“Large numbers are expected to travel from Derry for the tribute to Martin on Saturday evening and it is set to be an emotional and fitting tribute to a republican icon.”
It’s understood there are 170 motions to be debated at this year’s Ard Fheis which is expected to be the biggest in the party’s history.
Raymond McCartney says politics on the island of Ireland has changed since last year’s Ard Fheis.
“Brexit, and its impact on Ireland, dominates the news headlines and Irish unity is now firmly on the national and international political agenda.
“Sinn Féin believes there is now an unprecedented opportunity to begin a strategic discussion on the transition to a new, agreed, united Ireland built upon reconciliation and equality.
“In the North Sinn Féin has fought two elections, increasing our support in both. Our focus is now firmly on getting the institutions back up and running on the basis of equality, respect and integrity. A rights-based society with anti-sectarianism at its heart is the only credible and sustainable way forward for politics in the North,” he added.