Margaret Thatcher funeral: Northern Ireland guests attend

Baroness Thatcher's coffin Lady Thatcher's body was taken into the crypt at Westminster on Tuesday

First Minister Peter Robinson and a number of other politicians from Northern Ireland have attended the funeral of Baroness Thatcher in London.

Mr Robinson represented the NI Assembly at the service in St Paul's Cathedral.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and Alliance Party MP Naomi Long also attended.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon and the former first minister Lord Trimble were also there.

Irish Education Minister RuairĂ­ Quinn represented the Republic of Ireland's government.

The DUP's William McCrea was one of the senior members of the Commons who received Lady Thatcher's body into the crypt at Westminster on Tuesday.

The South Antrim MP said he disagreed with a number of Mrs Thatcher's policies, particularly the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

"In politics there are things that people agree with and disagree with and I think Margaret Thatcher did acknowledge in her record of looking back over her life that she had regretted things about the Anglo-Irish Agreement," he said.

In terms of the official etiquette, Baroness Thatcher's funeral was a ceremonial, not a full, state, funeral.

But watching the coffin being borne on a gun carriage along the Strand, flanked by military bands, it certainly felt like a major state occasion.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres told mourners the funeral wasn't the right time to debate the controversies over her life.

He described her as, in some ways, a mythological figure.

Some people protested along the funeral route, but hundreds of others broke into applause as the coffin passed by.

"You can't take away the fact that she was an outstanding political figure in the UK.

"She brought a distinction and respect internationally back to Britain, which hadn't been there for some time.

"She was a person of renown - no-one can take that away from her."

Naomi Long said Mrs Thatcher's legacy was "very much a mixed bag".

"It is a mark of a civilised society that we should be able to mark the passing of significant figures in a dignified way," she said.

"There is a time and a place to discuss her legacy but on the day of the funeral there is a grieving family at the centre of this.

"She was a human being with family and friends and that is something you need to be respectful of."

About 200 states, territories and international organisations were invited to send an official representative.

Several protests took place across Northern Ireland on the day of the former prime minister's funeral.

In Londonderry, hundreds of nationalists held a peaceful demonstration at Free Derry corner celebrating Mrs Thatcher's death.

They expressed their anger over her uncompromising stance towards the Hunger Strikers in the 1980s.

In Belfast, graffiti criticising Baroness Thatcher appeared on the slopes of Black Mountain and there was a protest on the Falls Road organised by Sinn Fein

More on This Story

More Northern Ireland stories



  • NS Savannah, 1962Nuclear dream

    The ship that totally failed to change the world

  • Ed Miliband takes a selfie at a Cambridge hairdressersNo more photo ops?

    Why is Ed Miliband drawing attention to his public image?

  • Espresso cup7 days quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?

  • Glasgow 2014 quaichs and medalsQuaich guide

    What do the Scottish gifts given to Games medallists symbolise?

  • Malaysian plane wreckage in UkraineFlight risk

    How odd is it for three planes to crash in eight days?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.