Wednesday 17 January 2018

Will Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness shake hands with the Queen?

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness who has been invited to attend an event with the Queen during her Northern Ireland visit next week. Photo: PA
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness who has been invited to attend an event with the Queen during her Northern Ireland visit next week. Photo: PA

Independent.ie reporters

SINN Fein's Martin McGuinness has been invited to attend an event with the Queen during her Northern Ireland visit next week.

The invitation by a major cross-border charity comes after speculation the senior republican may hold an historic first meeting with the Queen.



Sinn Fein previously said it had yet to be presented with a "doable proposition" over such an encounter.



Now Co-operation Ireland has announced it is to host an event for the Queen and the President of Ireland next Wednesday to celebrate the arts and culture across the island.



It said: "We are inviting the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to join us."



Sinn Fein's leadership will meet in Dublin this morning to make a decision on the invitation.



A venue for the event has yet to be confirmed.



It had been believed that plans for a 20,000-strong celebration of the Queen's reign, to be held at Stormont during the Queen's two day visit, made it more difficult for republicans to hold a meeting there.



But an engagement involving not only the Queen, but also Ireland's head of state, could provide a more acceptable backdrop for Sinn Fein.



Co-operation Ireland works to build bridges between divided communities on the island.



It said: "Co-operation Ireland is organising an event in Belfast next Wednesday, June 27, bringing together the joint patrons and a small number of guests to recognise and celebrate the transformational strength of the arts and culture across the community in Northern Ireland and throughout Ireland."



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