The mother of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was today described as “a woman of substance” and a patriot with a deep faith as she was laid to rest.
Hundreds of dignitaries, politicians, neighbours and friends of Peggy McGuinness and her family packed into the Long Tower Church in the Bogside area this morning for her funeral Mass.
Mrs McGuinness died at 7am on Monday at her Elmwood Street home following a short illness. She was 84.
Sinn Fein MLAs for Foyle have paid tribute to the woman this week, describing her as a life-long republican, while SDLP leader Mark Durkan described her as a “very kindly woman with real charm”.
Speaking at her funeral in St Columba’s chapel, the Rev Roland Colhoun said: “At this morning’s requiem we honour with Christian burial Peggy McGuinness, a very good woman who had a profound understanding of life and death, a woman who knew that this life is merely a preparation for death and new life.
“Born and reared in Buncrana, she has spent a lifetime in Derry. Coming from a family of nine, a very talented person, she worked hard all her days, reared a family of seven, with 21 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren to be proud of.”
Fr Colhoun said Mrs McGuinness had shown “tremendous tenacity” in her approach to life, adding that with “constant determination she put her family first in her heart and in her home”.
He said: “Her neighbours too speak of her many thoughtful deeds, showing constant consideration for them.
“This generosity was the fruit of her deep faith and well-practised Sacramental life, the reward of which was receiving Absolution just hours before she died.
“A widow for 35 years, Peggy accepted any hardship that came her way. Because she was kindly all her life, her gentle approach to sickness was a natural subsequence. Peggy’s sickness was very recent but she accepted it.”
Mrs McGuinness was due to be laid to rest this afternoon at St Mary’s Church Cemetery, Cockhill, in her native Buncrana.