SF invited to mark Mandela death in Africa

Published Monday, 09 December 2013
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will attend a public memorial service in South Africa to mark the passing of the anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela, it has been confirmed.

SF invited to mark Mandela death in Africa
Nelson Mandela, who died last week at the age of 95. (© Getty)

He will join tens of thousands of South Africans paying tribute to the first black President of their country in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Later in the week, Sinn Féin's president Gerry Adams will also travel to South Africa to mark the passing of Mr Mandela, who died last week at the age of 95.

He cannot attend the public service due to prior commitments.

The Louth TD has been invited by the ANC party to attend a special memorial service on Saturday, which will take place at the Air Force Base Waterkloof in Pretoria.

Mr Adams said: "We in Sinn Féin are very proud of the decades old relationship we have with our friends in the ANC. It is a great honour to be asked by the ANC to attend their service of remembrance on Saturday where they will bid Madiba farewell."

On Sunday, Mr Mandela's funeral and burial will take place in his home village of Qunu.

Meanwhile the death of Nelson Mandela has been discussed by the Assembly.

Mr McGuinness said: "This was a man who was an incredible supporter of our peace process, and I will be very honoured to represent our Executive and this Assembly at tomorrow's memorial in South Africa, as is my intention."

He was a freedom fighter, a peacemaker and a reconciler.

Martin McGuinness

Gregory Campbell of the DUP said: "I had the pleasure of meeting Nelson Mandela on several occasions, and, on a personal level, he was exceptionally friendly, charismatic and helpful as a facilitator, as were all of those whom he put at our disposal.

"There are some people in Northern Ireland who attempt to equate the issues in South Africa of the past with NI of the past. Of course, there has been no comparison whatsoever. People in Northern Ireland had a vote. The black population in South Africa had no vote."

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said: "Nelson Mandela will long be remembered as one of the world's greatest statesmen, and he fully deserves that honour.

"His enduring legacy will be one of hope, even in the most difficult of circumstances, and we should all unite around that sentiment.

Danny Kinahan of the UUP said: "Let us all consider how much better we could conduct ourselves, and let there be national conciliation with no rewriting of history but with generosity and forgiveness. Let us work at the consensus that we envisaged."

Justice Minister David Ford, of Alliance, said: "On behalf of my party colleagues, I send our sympathy to the people of South Africa and, most particularly, to the family and friends of the man they called Madiba."

TUV leader Jim Allister said: "Nelson Mandela was blessed with a very long life that was drawn to a close by natural causes, something that cannot be said about the many victims of his ANC or about the many victims of the IRA that his ANC so avidly supported.

"That is a perspective and reality that needs to be spoken and remembered, particularly given the uncritical tsunami of hysteria that there has been following the death of Nelson Mandela."

David McNarry of UKIP said: "To Mandela, I say this on behalf of UKIP: may he rest in peace. To Martin McGuinness, who has since left the Chamber, I say this: you do not represent me. Mr Speaker, I do not want him representing me at Nelson Mandela's funeral."

© UTV News
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16 Comments
Ryan in An Dun wrote (126 days ago):
So according to Gregory Campbell the civil rights movement never happened here? Was it just a bit of Craic then Gregory. Many people have died for the most basic of human rights in Ireland. And Jim Alister aka Ian Paisley in the 80's just has to get his dig in there. Well suppose you have to try and please your voters jim such as ards man in ards. And David mc Narry UKIP wasn't invited so you don't need to be represented.
Dub in Dublin Ireland wrote (126 days ago):
Oh Gregory Campbell you have a very short memory if you think catholics had a full vote and any rights in a stormont led parliament full of people who said this is a protestant state for a protestant people.
Frosty in Here wrote (126 days ago):
ex-terrorist turned politician to attend service for ex-terrorist turned politician.
HOPEFULL in Belfast wrote (128 days ago):
Lets never forget that Mandela WAS a terrorist. It shows that they can change and become a world renown statesman. Let's hope that McGuinness has the courage and honesty to follow in his footsteps to even a small degree, then there may be hope for this province of ours. We need this more than we want it!
Paul Campbell in Newtownabbey wrote (128 days ago):
Gregory Campbell says you cannot compare South Africa to N Ireland because people in N Ireland had the vote that is true it is just that some people had more votes than others Hence the cry one Man one vote
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