Eileen Paisley left her first meeting with Martin McGuinness feeling she was “just the same” as the former IRA leader in the eyes of God.
Her account of the meeting appears in a book scheduled to be launched today in Londonderry by author Jude Collins, called ‘Martin McGuinness, The Man I Knew’.
It is one of a string of events in the coming days aimed at remembering the senior republican, who died a year ago on this date.
The book includes tales of encounters with Mr McGuinness from contributors including ex-assistant chief constable Peter Sheridan, and Thomas Di Napoli, the top auditor of the State of New York.
Baroness Pailsey’s account says their first meeting was in late 2007 in New York, after Mr McGuinness had already been appointed Deputy First Minister.
The topic of conversation was her own apprehension about flying, and afterwards she felt: “This is a man and we’re all the same in God’s sight. We’re all the same value to him... Christ died for everybody.
“This man is just the same as me. He’s another human being and I can’t say I’m better than you are.”
She went on to describe him as having a “quietness and shyness”, adding she believed he “realised he had been misled” during the Troubles.
The website ‘Derry Now’ reports the book is to be launched at 6pm at Eason’s in Foyleside.
Other upcoming events in his memory include a GAA event called ‘the Chieftan’s gaelic games’ at Celtic Park, Londonderry, on Saturday, and a cancer unit fundraising event called the ‘Chieftain’s Walk’ on Sunday, where particpants will trek from Glenowen in Londonderry to Grianan in Co Donegal.