Thousands expected to attend funeral of Sinn Fein veteran Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness's coffin was carried to his home in Londonderry on Tuesday Credit: PA

Thousands of mourners are expected to attend the funeral of Martin McGuinness as the Sinn Fein veteran is laid to rest in his native Londonderry later today.

Among those expected to attend are former US President Bill Clinton and ex-Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson.

Irish president Michael D Higgins will also be present, along with his predecessor Mary McAleese and Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr McGuinness, an ex-IRA commander turned Stormont deputy first minister, died on Tuesday from a rare heart condition at the age of 66.

Politicians from both sides of the region's community divide will attend the funeral service at the Long Tower church on Thursday.

Just hours earlier, the same church will have witnessed the funeral of the popular captain of Derry City FC Ryan McBride, who was found dead in his bed on Sunday.

Mr McGuinness's death came in the midst of a political crisis at Stormont, with talks ongoing to form a new power-sharing executive following the acrimonious collapse of the last administration.

While former Democratic Unionist leader Mr Robinson is expected to be there, by late Wednesday night the party had still not officially confirmed whether his successor, Arlene Foster, would attend.

Political leaders have commended Mr McGuinness's role in the peace process Credit: PA

Political leaders at Westminster and Belfast commended Mr McGuinness's contribution to the peace process.

But while many supporters have lauded his legacy, his death has drawn a different response from many victims of the IRA, with some bereaved relatives not prepared to forgive him for his paramilitary past.

Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament she could not condone the ex-IRA commander's violent past, but she also credited him with playing an "indispensable" role in moving the Republican movement away from armed conflict.

Over the course of his lifetime, Mr McGuinness completed an extraordinary political journey from an IRA leader in Derry to sharing power and a remarkable friendship with the DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley.

He also struck up a warm relationship with the Queen, whom he praised for her contribution to peace.

She is to send a personal message to Mr McGuinness's family.