Northern Ireland news

Leaders from north's five main political parties attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral

Leaders from all of the north's main political parties attended the service
Suzanne McGonagle

SINN Féin's Michelle O'Neill and Alex Maskey were among the Northern Ireland political figures who attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.

In a message posted on Twitter before the service in London, Sinn Féin vice-president Ms O'Neill said: "Today I respectfully join leaders from Britain, Ireland and the international community at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as she is laid to rest.

"It is a sad day for her family who mourn her loss, and all those of a British identity from across our community who grieve also."

Leaders from the north's five main political parties were among the 2,000 guests at the queen's funeral at Westminster Abbey.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Alliance Party leader Naomi Long, Doug Beattie of the UUP and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood were at the service with the assembly speaker Mr Maskey.

Mr Eastwood also wrote on Twitter: "The queen stretched herself for our peace process.

"It's important we do the same to show respect to her and all for whom she held a special place in their hearts."

Former First Minister and ex-DUP leader Dame Arlene Foster was also seen filing into Westminster Abbey, alongside Mervyn Gibson, Orange Order Grand Secretary.

President Michael D Higgins was also in attendance - the first time an Irish president attended a British Monarch's funeral.

Taoiseach Michaál Martin was also among the guests.

Among other invited guests was Lady Mary Peters as well as Patricia Donnelly, who received the OBE in recognition of her work at the head of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Northern Ireland and Peter Sheridan of Co-operation Ireland, which is among the charities the late queen was a patron of, was also at the service.

Senior figures from Ireland's four largest churches - Catholic Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh John McDowell, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Right Reverend John Kirkpatrick and President of the Methodist Church the Reverend David Nixon - also attended.

Speaking after the service, Archbishop Martin said he felt "privileged, humbled and honoured" to have been there.

"The entire abbey was filed with so many people who are leading their country in one way or another," he told BBC Radio Foyle.

"I found myself praying for all of us to, really, try to do what we can, to lead humbly and as servants, which I think Queen Elizabeth wanted to do herself."


President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina arriving at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Picture by Peter Byrne/PA Wire


Northern Ireland news