Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness to attend first Northern Ireland game at Euro 2016 finals in France

Deputy First Minister to also attend Republic of Ireland game against Italy

By Jonny Bell

Martin McGuinness is to attend Northern Ireland's final Euro 2016 group game against Germany, it has been confirmed.

It will be the first time the veteran republican has attended an Northern Ireland game.

He attended Windsor Park to watch his Derry City team take on Linfield in the Setanta Cup in 2012.

At the time he said he had previously been to the international stadium over 50 years previous to see the Candystripes beat Glentoran in the Irish Cup Final.

After that game the MLA said he would welcome the opportunity to attend a Northern Ireland game.

More: Martin McGuinness draws 'favourites' Northern Ireland in Euro 2016 office sweepstake

Sinn Fein's Caral Ni Chuilin was the first senior member of the party to attend a Northern Ireland game. She was at Windsor Park for a clash against the Faroe Islands during her tenure as Sports Minister.

She took her seat after the singing of the national anthem and left early during the second half missing all four goals in a home win.

Northern Ireland face Germany in the Parc des Princes in Paris for what will be their final group game of the competition. Depending on their results, the Green and White Army will be hoping the game is a mere finality ahead of the knock-out stages of the competition.

Michael O'Neill's men kick-off their campaign on Sunday against Poland in Nice and face Ukraine on Thursday in Lille.

Northern Ireland 's First and deputy First Minister have been given open invitations to all three of Northern Ireland's group games in Nice, Lyon and Paris.

It has been reported that First Minister Arlene Foster will attend the opener in Nice against Poland.

Martin McGuinness will also attend the Republic of Ireland's final group game against Italy in Lille on Wednesday, June 22.

They kick-off on Monday against Sweden and face Belgium next Saturday, June 18.

The Sinn Fein MLA's attendance at the Northern Ireland game will come just weeks after he visited the battle sites of the Somme Messines.

More: Sinn Fein's McGuinness in tribute to all soldiers from Ireland who fell at the Somme

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