McGuin­ness hon­oured

The Irish Times - - Home News -

Sinn Féin’s top brass were out in force in the Mem­bers’ Din­ing Room on Wed­nes­day night when the

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl launched A Leap of

Faith, a book by Pres­by­te­rian minister David La­timer re­call­ing his long friend­ship with the late Martin McGuin­ness.

In an en­dorse­ment on the front cover, Bill Clin­ton writes that their “re­mark­able” friend­ship “re­minds us all about the im­por­tance of build­ing bridges be­tween faiths if we are to truly share the fu­ture”.

For­mer leader Gerry Adams joined his suc­ces­sor Mary Lou McDon­ald at the event, which was also at­tended by Martin’s wife, Bernie, who has writ­ten the book’s fore­word. The un­likely friend­ship be­tween the for­mer IRA leader and the minister of Derry Pres­by­te­rian Church be­gan over a decade ago, and the book cov­ers a se­ries of events, in­clud­ing the Rev La­timer’s speech at the Sinn Féin Ardfheis, McGuin­ness’s hand­shake with the queen, and their joint work for peace in Derry. The au­thor also writes about his time as an army chap­lain at Camp Bas­tion in Afghanistan in 2008.

Launch­ing the book, Ó Fearghaíl spoke of the jour­ney un­der­taken by the two, “their strange chal­leng­ing jour­ney of dis­cov­ery – dis­cov­ery of each other, of them­selves and the com­mu­ni­ties in which they served”.

Mean­while, McDon­ald told of the “en­rich­ing ties of friend­ship” which they built across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide and, in the case of McGuin­ness, “that some­times got him into a bit of bother, in­clud­ing with us, his own repub­li­can fam­ily”.

She added: “It is only with the value of hind­sight that many of us re­alise how right he was, how wise he was.”

La­timer got warm ap­plause from the crowd – from across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum – for his open­ing lines: “A Ceann Comhairle, go raibh maith agat. Dia daoibh go léir. Is álainn liom a bheith anseo.”

He said it was “a great hon­our” to be in Le­in­ster House and said he couldn’t be­lieve it when he saw Bernie McGuin­ness there. She had been tex­ting him when he was com­ing down to Dublin on the bus from Derry, but didn’t tell him she would be at the launch too.

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