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Northern Ireland news

Jane Fonda paid surprise visit to Martin McGuinness during Troubles

Hollywood star Jane Fonda visited Martin McGuinness in Derry 
Deborah McAleese, Press Association

During the height of the Troubles, Martin McGuinness had an unusual supporter - Hollywood star Jane Fonda.

It was 1976 and the Oscar winner paid a surprise visit to the former IRA chief of staff's home in Derry's Bogside, a predominantly republican area of the city.

McGuinness once told RTE that he returned home from Sunday Mass to find the actress sitting in his kitchen with his wife and eldest child Grainne.

Fonda and her then husband Tom Hayden had been visiting Ireland, and had travelled to Derry to see McGuinness.

The McGuinness family showed the famous couple around Bogside and then made them dinner.

"They stayed with us all day," McGuinness revealed.

He said it was clear the star had a real interest in the Troubles.

The pair became friends and several months later Fonda sent a large box of baby clothes on the birth of McGuinness's third child.

After her visit Fonda continued campaigning for elements of the republican cause.

In 1981 she lobbied Margaret Thatcher to end the Northern Ireland hunger strikes.

She sent a telegram imploring the British prime minister to reclassify all republican inmates as political prisoners.

Fonda has appeared in films which have been box office successes and critically acclaimed, including Barefoot In The Park, Klute, The China Syndrome and On Golden Pond.

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