Wednesday 21 February 2018

Success of visit does not warrant royal involvement in 1916 events - Adams

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams takes a break in St Stephen’s Green while canvassing for a ‘Yes’ vote in the marriage referendum yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams takes a break in St Stephen’s Green while canvassing for a ‘Yes’ vote in the marriage referendum yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams says he does not believe the success of Prince Charles's visit to Ireland warrants a royal involvement in next year's 1916 commemorations. Mr Adams said the Government had already ruled out inviting members to partake in the celebrations, adding that this position has been accepted by the royal family themselves.

The Louth TD made the remarks after his historic meeting with Prince Charles in Galway as part of the Duke of Cornwall's visit to the West of Ireland.

Mr Adams shook hands with the Prince before holding a private meeting also attended by the North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Mr Adams said the meeting was a "big thing for Charles to do and a big thing for us to do".

"I think it was good for everyone. I'm very mindful of victims and survivors of the conflict from all sides but I think it was a very good step, it was a big thing for Charles to do, it was a big thing for us to do. It's what the governments and the other parties make of it and build on it. I think at a popular level, yes I think it was a good day and a good thing to do," Mr Adams said.

"It was a very cordial engagement. It was an affable engagement. It's my view that this man wants to help this process. We certainly want to do that. I think it was a symbolically, but also could potentially be another practicable step on the journey we are all on."

Citing Nelson Mandela, "you don't make peace with your friends", Mr Adams said meetings with figure heads in Britain was an important step towards reconciliation.

But asked whether consideration should be given to a royal involvement in the Easter Rising events next year, Mr Adams said he did not believe this issue would be considered.

"They and the Government have both ruled that out. I would have very little in common, obviously, with a member of the royal family. I would never be reconciled to partition or to British government involvement in the affairs of the people in this island," Mr Adams said.

"But at the same time, he and I are of an age. We are both tree huggers. We have other things in common. But more importantly, we both have suffered bereavement in the course of the conflict. Mandela said famously 'you don't make peace with your friends'. So let's try and make friends with our neighbours including those on our nearest offshore island."

Asked about the issues discussed during a private meeting in NUI Galway, Mr Adams said he brought up the issue of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings "and the fact the British government has yet to send files to the Irish authorities".

The Sinn Féin leader said the pair also discussed the events of Mullaghmore, the location where Prince Charle's great-uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was murdered by the IRA.

And the massacre of Ballymurphy in 1971 was also on the agenda.

Irish Independent

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