Welcome home for McGuinness

Martin McGuinness arriving at Dublin castle on Friday night with his wife, Bernie, on left, and daughter, Fionnuala, on right. (0111MM10)
Martin McGuinness arriving at Dublin castle on Friday night with his wife, Bernie, on left, and daughter, Fionnuala, on right. (0111MM10)

A homecoming event will be held for Martin McGuinness in Derry tomorrow night to celebrate his performance in the presidential election.

The event, which will be held in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin at 7.30pm, is being organised by the Friends of Martin McGuinness group, who also organised his send-off rally at Free Derry Corner when he set off on the campaign trail.

Mr McGuinness finished third in the election, with 13.7 per cent of the vote behind independent Sean Gallagher, and winner Michael D Higgins, who secured a convincing victory with 39.6 per cent.

Speaking after the result was announced in Dublin Castle, Mr McGuinness wished the president-elect the best for his seven years in office.

He also said he was pleased with his own performance. “I am delighted with the strong vote I have received. My message of positive leadership, patriotism, and commitment clearly was resonating with tens of thousands of ordinary Irish people,” he said.

Sinn Féin have also hailed Mr McGuinness’ performance as a success and said that his third place performance is an indication of the strength of the party across the country.

Mr McGuinness topped the poll in the Donegal North East constituency, which includes Inishowen, with 32.2 per cent of the vote. He finished third in almost every other constituency in the country, except Cavan/Monaghan, where he finished second.

He returned to the North yesterday and was back in Stormont where he will resume his duties as Deputy First Minister, from which he temporarily stepped down to contest the election.

The other Derry candidate, Dana Rosemary Scallon, finished in sixth place on 2.9 per cent, 0.1 per cent ahead of Mary Davis in last place.

Looking ahead to tomorrow night’s event, a spokesperson for the Friends of Martin McGuinness said: “We felt it was important to hold an event in Derry to conclude on Martin’s presidential campaign. It has been a mammoth effort across Ireland for the past six weeks.

“Martin and his team have been on the road for up to 18 hours a day and visited all the 32 Counties of Ireland, with hundreds of people attending support rallies and thousands getting involved in the campaign.

“For many it was the first time they had taken part in such a campaign and they will learn from that experience and build on it, and that can only be good for the future.

“I would urge people to come along on Wednesday night to An Chultúrlann Great James Street at 7.30pm to welcome Martin back home to Derry. The event is open to everyone and I hope as many people as possible come along.”