Gerry Adams set to meet Prince Charles in Galway
Published 19/05/2015 | 02:30
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will meet Prince Charles today, as the heir to the British throne begins his Irish visit.
Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who famously shook hands with the Queen in 2012, will also be present.
Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall kick off their visit in the west of Ireland today. An emotional trip to Mullaghmore, where Charles's great uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA, is scheduled for tomorrow.
A Sinn Féin spokesman said party representatives would attend events as part of the visit "to promote reconciliation and healing".
The private meeting with Mr Adams ahead of this is sure to be seen as significant.
Meanwhile, a major Garda operation has been put in place, with roads to be cordoned off.
Gardaí revealed they are treating the threat level to the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall as "moderate".
A spokesperson said they considered the royal visit a "very high security event" and would treat it accordingly.
Asked about the dissident threat, he said: "Our threat level is pitched at moderate, meaning an attack is possible but not likely. We have no specific intelligence relating to any specific threats. Having said that, we won't be taking anything for granted."
Galway city has been gearing up for the royal visit with a frantic spring clean, detailed security checks, and even devising a new commemorative cocktail for the occasion.
Food fit for a duchess will greet Camilla when she visits the House Hotel in the city.
She will be offered a selection of the finest fare the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer, meeting those behind the produce during the showcase. But the highlight will be a new cocktail.
"We're calling it The Duchess and it includes Mumm champagne, Dingle gin and elderflower, and we understand she is a big fan of elderflower," said Aislinn O'Driscoll, sales and marketing manager at the hotel.
Preparations are also under way at St Nicholas's National School in the Claddagh, where the duchess will visit almost 300 children and 70 staff at the DEIS school, which caters for children from 42 different nationalities.