Northern Ireland news

Stars of Irish music scene to join online tribute to Martin McGuinness marking 70th birthday

Former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness died in March 2017
Seamus McKinney

SINGERS Christy Moore and Damien Dempsey will be joined tonight by flautist Matt Molloy and other stars of the Irish music scene for an online tribute marking what would have been Martin McGuinness's 70th birthday.

A ballad has also been written in memory of the former Sinn Féin MP and Deputy First Minister and will be premiered at the event.

Where My Heart Will Always Be, written by businessman Paul McGilloway, will be performed by Derry singer Ciara McCafferty as a finale.

Mr McGuinness died in March 2017 after suffering from a rare heart illness.

Mr McGilloway's song title refers to his love for the Bogside where he grew up, including the words:

“I look out on the Bogside

Where my heart will always be

And know that I will rest in peace

As you set Ireland free.”

Ms McCafferty said she believed in the project from the day Mr McGilloway contacted her because of the way in which he “humbly” wrote the lyrics and melody for his late friend.

“I never knew Martin on a personal level but I did know he was very proud of where he came from. He loved his family with all his heart and he dedicated his life for peace and equality in our society and that I am grateful for,” she said.

The song will be made available online from tonight with all proceeds going to the Martin McGuinness Peace Foundation.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said organisers of the event were aware that many people were suffering through the coronavirus crisis.

“We will be celebrating his birthday in an unusual way; it'll be an online tribute to our Martin McGuinness, to the great man that he was, to mark all of his achievements and his legacy."

She said the event, which starts at 7pm, would also focus on Mr McGuinness's close attachment to Derry.

“It will be bitter sweet but I think a very appropriate moment to mark one of Derry's proudest sons.

"Of course, we miss him; I think everybody misses him. I know when I reflect on things very, very often, I think to myself I wonder what Martin would make of this or what advice would he give or what would his perspective on things be,” she said.

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