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From adversaries to friends: Martin McGuinness signs book of condolences for Ian Paisley

They were once bitter enemies, but the two went on to forge one of the most unlikely friendships in Northern Ireland.

THEY WERE ONCE bitter adversaries, fighting for diametrically-opposed causes in a brutal war.

But as their roles in their respective communities changed, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness forged one of the most unlikely friendships in Northern Ireland.

Today McGuinness signed the book of condolences for Northern Ireland’s former First Minister, saying he had lost a friend with the death of the 88-year-old Paisley.

The message reads:

In rising above old enmities we pointed the way to a better and peaceful future. The Peace Process and I have lost a friend.

McGuinness has been the most vocal member of Sinn Féin to pay tribute to Ian Paisley, having served as Deputy First Minister with him.

Dr Ian Paisley death Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Party leader Gerry Adams highlighted the strength of the friendship between the two in an article on The Guardian’s Comment is Free:

Paisley and McGuinness got on famously. Paisley was still a unionist, McGuinness still a republican. It is to his credit and McGuinness’s great patience that they created a space where each could find common cause with the other.

The book of condolences for Paisley was opened in Derry today following his death on Friday.

He is to have a private funeral later this week on his family’s wishes, followed by a public memorial service later in the year.

Read: ‘Never, never, never’ and other famous words from Reverend Ian Paisley > 

Read: Ian Paisley in pictures: From Neverman to Chuckle Brother > 

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