Thursday 5 December 2019

Martin McGuinness: Royal visit during 1916 commemorations may be 'inappropriate'

Martin McGuinness meeting Queen
Martin McGuinness meeting Queen

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has expressed serious reluctance about the prospect of a royal visit to Ireland during the 1916 commemorations.

The former IRA commander said that such a proposal must be debated "in a sensible way" and claimed that some historians have suggested that a visit by the Queen and other members of the Royal family could be considered "inappropriate".

The prospect of a royal visit in two years time emerged during the State visit to Britain earlier this month by President Michael D. Higgins. In a highly symbolic engagement, Mr McGuinness shook the hand of Queen Elizabeth in the grand hall of Windsor Castle and complimented Her Majesty on the role she played in building the Peace Process in Ireland.

But the North's Deputy First Minister yesterday refused to say whether he would meet members of the Royal family if they are indeed invited to commemorate the Easter Rising.

"I think what we have to commemorate first and foremost is the Easter Rising and all those heroes who liberated this part of Ireland," Mr McGuinness said.

Speaking in Dublin ahead the campaign launch of the party's euro candidate Lynn Boylan, Mr McGuinness said he believes the focus of the Irish people will be on remembering those who lost their lives in the Easter Rising.

"I think we need to come at this sensibly.I think it's must too soon to presume who is going to be attending. My focus and I think the focus of the Irish people has to be on those people who gave their lives for Irish freedom and of course all of those who have suffered since as a result of conflict," according to Mr McGuinness.

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