Northern Ireland news

Derry stars in US tribute to Martin McGuinness and Ryan McBride

Phil Coulter paid a musical tribute to Martin McGuinness and Ryan McBride in San Franciso. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

TWO Derry music stars have paid an emotional tribute to former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and Derry City captain Ryan McBride.

Glee actor Damian McGinty joined veteran singer/songwriter Phil Coulter on stage in the US for a highly-charged performance of his anthem The Town I Love So Well, dedicated to the two men.

Mr McBride died suddenly 11 days ago and was buried on the same day as Mr McGuinness last Thursday.

Mr McGinty (24), a singer with international group Celtic Thunder and winner of reality show The Glee Project, joined his fellow Derry man at a concert at the United Irish Culture Centre in San Francisco.

In a social media post before last Sunday's gig, he said both men felt a link with Mr McGuinness and Mr McBride, describing them as "two of our biggest and best leaders".

“Ryan was of my generation. Martin was of Phil's,” he said.

"This means a lot to the both of us and Derry is a community I am so proud to be a part of and to come from.

"It has been a tragic week and if this performance helps shed the littlest of lights in a dark week, then it's the least we can do."

Mr Coulter said: "An enthusiastic full house in San Francisco really appreciated what we were trying to say. It was always meant as a tribute to our home town."

It emerged yesterday that Derry City FC has named veteran goalkeeper Gerard Doherty as new captain following Mr McBride's death.

He will lead the team out against Bray Wanderers at Maginn Park, Buncrana tomorrow night in what is expected to be an emotional return to football for the club.

Meanwhile, a Methodist minister has revealed he wrote to Mr McGuinness at the end of January asking him to consider making an apology on behalf of the IRA for the "cruel things done" to its victims.

Rev David Clements' father Billy was an RUC Reservist killed by the IRA at Ballygawley Police Station in 1985.

The minister, who works with the Wave Trauma Centre, said he told Mr McGuinness he was praying for him during his illness and was thankful for the leadership he had shown in recent years.

However, he also said his refusal to express regret for his time in the IRA or for what it did "grieves me deeply" and asked him to consider writing down such words "to be released at some time in the future".

He said he did not know if Mr McGuinness had read the letter.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news