Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness Will Attend Tony Benn’s Funeral.
The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness will attend the funeral of former Labour MP Tony Benn. The funeral is taking place in St Margaret’s Church, Westminster today. McGuinness will also be joined by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and Michelle Gildernew MP.
Last night Mr Benn's body was laid in St Mary's Undercroft Chapel in the Palace of Westminster. This is the same chapel that Margaret Thatcher's body was placed in the night before her funeral last year.
Michelle Gildernew said: “I am proud to be representing the Sinn Féin MPs at the funeral service of Tony Benn in London tomorrow, alongside Gerry Adams TD and Martin McGuinness MLA.
“Tony was a great friend of the Irish people, a politician of immense standing and principle, as an activist and as an MP. He was a committed socialist and internationalist, and a strong campaigner for justice and freedom – especially in relation to Ireland.
“As a true democrat, he spoke passionately in support of Irish unity and self-determination. His vision and foresight made him a powerful advocate of the peace process and inclusive dialogue, long before it was popular to do so.
“Tony was a champion for humanity all his life, in Britain, Ireland and throughout the world. He will be deeply missed. On behalf of all of our MPs, and Sinn Féin, I extend my condolences to Tony Benn’s family at this sad time.”
The attendance will be controversial because of Sinn Féin’s link to the terrorist group the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The IRA was responsible for bombings in both Northern Ireland and the British mainland that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians.
Whilst Sinn Féin run for the British Parliament they do not take their seats, despite the fact that Benn had encouraged them to do so. Benn was also a firm supporter of Irish Nationalism throughout his life.