- Apr 2, 2016
Martin McGuinness is considering an invite to attend a memorial service marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. The Deputy First Minister has been included on a draft guest list for the event in France on July 1. Sinn Fein said any invitations to events will be considered.
A series of major ceremonies are planned across the UK and France on July 1 to mark the centenary. The Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of World War One with more than one million casualties over 141 days.
The fighting began just before 7.30am on the morning of July 1, 1916. Men of the 36th (Ulster) Division were among the 100,000 Allied soldiers who went over the top to face the Germans on the slopes around Thiepval and Beaumont-Hamel in the valley of the River Somme.
It was to become known as the British Army's bloodiest day.
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness may attend Battle of the Somme 100th anniversary event - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk
Whilst many within both the PUL and CNR communities are going to have issues with a former PIRA commander attending a commemoration event for fallen British soldiers, it should be remembered that many Irish Volunteers also fought and died alongside their Protestant Unionist fellow countrymen at the Somme.
In light of the tributes paid to British war dead at Belfast cenotaph by former Sinn Fein Lord Mayors Alex Maskey, Tom Hartley, Niall O Donnghaile and Mairtin O Muilleoir, if Martin does decide to accept the offer and attend, this can only be viewed as a progressive and positive development.