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Martin McGuiness to meet the Queen


PauloBarnesi
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Martin McGuinness has said when he shakes the hand of the Queen he will be symbolically shaking the hand of every unionist in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein's Mr McGuinness will meet the Queen and shake her hand at a charity reception in Belfast on Wednesday.

Speaking to the BBC, he said reconciliation was the next important stage of the peace process.

"This is an opportunity for me to extend the hand of peace and reconciliation," Mr McGuinness said.

"I've shaken the hands of many unionists over the course of this peace process, but it's obviously physically impossible to shake the hands of every one of those hundreds of thousands.

"So symbolically, when shaking the hand of Queen Elizabeth, I'm extending the hand of peace and reconciliation to all my unionist brothers and sisters."

Mr McGuinness, Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, said leadership was about recognising the need to move forward.

"I'm not the kind of leader that pushes people forward and asks them to do the leading - some others do that but I don't.

"I believe in leading from the front."

He said he would face a challenge on Wednesday morning, "but it's a challenge I will rise to."

'Unthinkable'

Mr McGuinness said massive strides had been made during the peace process.

"The unthinkable in the past has come to pass, so other things that may be unthinkable now I believe will come to pass in the future," he said.

"But the next phase of this has to be a phase of reconciliation."

Sinn Fein agreed to the unprecedented meeting with the Queen following a special meeting of the party in Dublin on Friday.

Mr McGuinness, a former IRA leader, has been a major figure in the Irish peace process and has been deputy first minister of Northern Ireland for five years.

In the past, Sinn Fein leaders boycotted royal visits to Ireland and the IRA targeted members of the Royal Family.

In 1979, the paramilitary group murdered the Queen's cousin, Lord Mountbatten, while he was on holiday in the Republic of Ireland.

However, following the Queen's highly successful state visit to the Irish Republic last May, there had been mounting speculation that she would meet Sinn Fein.

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Apologies if posted elsewhere. Well I would have never thought this would have happened...

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As will the families of the dead innocent victims of the IRA

This could seriously backfire on her

What does SHE have to lose? A few flag wavers behind police barricades?

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I'm sure there's a gag in there somewhere - about people who assumed names, would never ever let their children marry someone from "another religion", who got their money through nefarious and violent acts, who are claimed to represent far more people than they actually do, getting to meet the Sinn Fein bloke.

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As will the families of the dead innocent victims of the IRA

This could seriously backfire on her

What does SHE have to lose? A few flag wavers behind police barricades?

Don't care about HER, should point out this may backfire on him too

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As will the families of the dead innocent victims of the IRA

This could seriously backfire on her

What does SHE have to lose? A few flag wavers behind police barricades?

Don't care about HER, should point out this may backfire on him too

Sinn Fein are part of the establishment now though, aren't they? To hardliners, he and Adams both sold out a long time ago.

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I think it's easy to be cynical about this, but does it not represent massive progress in the peace process? This would have been unthinkable in the not so distant past. If this meeting can help bring eventual resolution, and help build bridges, then it can only be a good thing.

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The progress that has been made between the two countries would never have been made if all those involved in the process did nothing but look at the past. Everyone knows what happened before, CI. If you could ask all those who lost their lives in the troubles whether they would have liked to see peace then I'd say they'd probably say yes. This doesn't justify or advocate what happened. It's a symbol of how far we've come from that mess.Some can accept it and some can't. And that goes for people on both sides of the political divide. But you'll never get unanimity. There'll always be an element.

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The progress that has been made between the two countries would never have been made if all those involved in the process did nothing but look at the past. Everyone knows what happened before, CI. If you could ask all those who lost their lives in the troubles whether they would have liked to see peace then I'd say they'd probably say yes. This doesn't justify or advocate what happened. It's a symbol of how far we've come from that mess.Some can accept it and some can't. And that goes for people on both sides of the political divide. But you'll never get unanimity. There'll always be an element.

BOF you are spot on, this is hard for everybody and something that I have been fighting with since I heard.

My beliefs say that I should not hold resentment and forgivness is not about condoning ones actions but refusing to hold ill will and bad feeling towards someone. But on the other hand I cant stand him or Adams and feel sick at the thought. Guess I have a lot more to work on to accept this but I just cant work out what it is thats holding me back? Maybe its because that they just both come across as though they have no remorse.

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I hope the Queen drops the nut on the word removed.

This. And perhaps while she's at it, can get him to tell her where he's hiding those who bombed Birmingham all those years ago.

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