Northern Ireland news

Taoiseach and president among limited mourners at John Hume's funeral Mass

John Hume's funeral will take place at St Eugene's Cathedral in Derry. Picture by Pacemaker

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin and President Michael D Higgins will be among a limited number of mourners at today's funeral of John Hume.

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, as well as representatives from each of Stormont's main parties, will also attend the Mass in Derry's St Eugene's Cathedral, alongside Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Secretary of State Brandon Lewis.

The Requiem Mass, which begins at 11.30am, will be broadcast on RTÉ One, RTÉ News Now and on its online and digital platforms, while the BBC will also live-stream from inside the cathedral.

At the end of the Mass, Derry musician Phil Coulter will play The Town I Loved So Well.

Restrictions designed to reduce the spread of Covid-19 mean numbers at the funeral are expected to be restricted to less than 100 mourners.

A number of Mr Hume's former SDLP colleagues, including former first minister Mark Durkan and former deputy leader Brid Rodgers, are also expected to attend.

The Derry-born MEP, MP and MLA's remains left his home in Moville, Co Donegal last night and lay overnight in the cathedral.

In a statement, the Hume family expressed their gratitude for the "outpouring of love and support" that followed his death on Monday.

"John loved the people of Derry and Donegal," the family statement said.

"The heartfelt and sincere condolences that we have received from people across the island, but particularly from the communities John loved being a part of, have been immensely comforting to us."

However, given the health risks, the family urged people not to line the route from Moville to St Eugene's and to instead light a "candle for peace" in their homes or at their door.

"We know that he would have prioritised public health and the safety and health of our communities," the family said.

"We’re asking people to follow that guidance, please do not put yourself or others at risk."

The funeral Mass will be concelebrated by Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown, Fr Paul Farren and Fr Dinny McGettigan.

There will be readings from members of the Hume family and from Mr Durkan, as well as prayers from his grandchildren.

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