Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Cross Border Co-Operation Declan Breathnach TD has expressed his condolences on the passing of former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness.

Deputy Breathnach said, “Martin McGuinness was a proud Derry man who always spoke highly of his community. He embarked on a long political journey over the course of his life, moving from an IRA leader to a proponent of constitutional politics. He was a highly controversial man but there can be little doubt that he played an integral role in helping to eventually achieve peace in Northern Ireland.

“As Deputy First Minister Martin was prepared to extend the hand of friendship to old adversaries, as is evident through his close relationship with Reverend Ian Paisley. His meeting with Queen Elizabeth II demonstrated his willingness to move on from the past in order to forge a better future.

“I worked with Martin on the Narrow Water Bridge project during my years in Louth County Council and I always found him to be hard working, upfront and a great negotiator.

“Martin made a substantial contribution to the peace process. He made the journey from conflict to peace and he played a significant role in bringing the republican movement towards a position of using democratic means to advance its cause.

“He served the people of Northern Ireland as Deputy First Minister for nearly a decade during which time he built bridges with the Unionist community in particular, and their leaders, to steer Northern Ireland towards a better shared future.

“I wish to express my sincerest condolences to Martin’s family and wide network of friends. Ar Dheis Dé go raibh a anam dhílis.”