Martin McGuinness visiting WWI battlegrounds in Belgium and France

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is visiting two World War One battlegrounds in Belgium and France.

He had been invited by the Flemish government to Flanders in Belgium, where the Battle of Messines took place in 1917.

Tomorrow the Deputy First Minister he will visit the Somme in France, where soldiers of the 36th (Ulster) and 16th (Irish) divisions fought together.

Last week TUV leader Jim Allister branded his attendance at the site of the Battle of the Somme as a “stunt”.

Mr Allister said there was little “sincerity” in the Deputy First Minister’s gesture.

However, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said it would not be right to “seek to exclude people” from acts of remembrance.

Last week Mr McGuinness said he was making the trip “in the spirit of reconciliation”.

He added that it would be a “sincere effort to recognise the human suffering and also the importance these events hold for the unionist section of our people”.