Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has congratulated Michelle O’Neill on being appointed as the party’s new leader in the Assembly.
Liadh said she was sure her party colleague would carry on the work of equality driven peace building pioneered by Martin McGuinness.
“It is no exaggeration to say that Martin McGuinness is a man who has changed the course of Irish history,” she said.
“Throughout his life he has displayed a fearless dedication to freedom, justice and peace whether he was fighting a corrupt state on the streets of Derry or reaching across the hand of friendship to our unionist brothers and sisters.
“His contribution to the Irish nation has been enormous and it is with great sadness that we see him step back from politics as he faces yet another challenge we have no doubt he will overcome.
“While all our thoughts and prayers are with Martin and his family at this time I want to take this opportunity to congratulate my colleague Michelle O’Neill on stepping into Martin’s role.
“Michelle is a fantastic public representative; principled and tenacious, I have every faith she will carry on Martin’s legacy of peace building, bridge building and nation building.
“Indeed Michelle has already built quite a legacy of her own. As Health Minister she immediately moved to abolish antiquated anti-LGBT laws retained by the DUP and prioritised Mental Health, as Agriculture Minister she displayed her commitment to rural Ireland by being the only Minister to ever decentralise an entire department away from Belfast, she has been a strong advocate for the people of Mid Ulster in the Assembly since 2007 and in 2010 she broke new ground by becoming the first ever female Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone.
“These are only a few of her achievements and I am sure she has much much more in store.
“I look forward to working with her as we continue to build the Ireland of equals Martin McGuinness fought for all his life.”