Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Adams: Build on historic meeting

Gerry Adams says it is important that the historic handshake between the Queen and Martin McGuinness is seen as more than just a gesture

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has said the historic meeting between the Queen and Martin McGuinness should be about more than novelty and symbolism.

Mr Adams, a politician in the Irish Republic after more than 20 years as an MP for West Belfast, said the importance of the handshake will be in how Anglo-Irish relations develop.

"What happened today is a very, very good thing indeed and again, I come back to it - will it be significant beyond the novelty or beyond the symbolism? That's up to us," he said on Wednesday.

Mr Adams, who announced plans for the meeting after a party discussion last Friday, said in Dublin that the meeting between the Queen and the former IRA commander was a good day for Ireland and its people.

He added that it was important that the event is built on and is recognised as more than a simple gesture.

"I think the significance will be seen in how much we can build upon it," he said.

"I think the vast majority of unionists will be pleased that this happened because they know it's essentially a real gesture beyond the rhetoric towards their sense of identity and their sense of allegiance."

The Co Louth TD said the Irish and British states were on a journey which was nowhere near completion and that more must be done to build on progress made in Anglo-Irish relations.

"There are issues yet that need to be brought to conclusion, specifically the issues of the legacy of the conflict," said Mr Adams.

"Both governments have a big role to play."

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