Belfast Telegraph

Presbyterian cleric Rev David Latimer who struck unlikely friendship with Martin McGuinness to retire

Rev Dr David Latimer welcomes the then Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to First Derry Presbyterian Church
Rev Dr David Latimer welcomes the then Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to First Derry Presbyterian Church

A Presbyterian cleric who struck up an unlikely friendship with the Martin McGuinness has announced his retirement.

Rev David Latimer, of First Derry Presbyterian, announced he is to retire in the new year.

He developed a friendship with Mr Guinness after an appeal for help in bringing attacks against the church to an end more than 10 years ago.

His decision to befriend the late Sinn Fein figure drew strong criticism from some members of his congregation, with around 30 families leaving the church as a result.

Speaking to Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme, he said: "For the last 10 years of Martin's life it was clear to me that here was a man who had an encounter, we might not have put it like that, but there was something that happened in his life that allowed him to fix his face steadfastly towards the destination of peace."

He added that he will not be leaving Londonderry and that he will continue peace work with young people in the city.

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