Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Queen's Sinn Fein handshae in Enniskillen ‘a bridge too far’

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness watched by First minister Peter Robinson (centre) at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast
The Queen arrives to meet with Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness and First Minister Peter Robinson at the Lyric Theatre on June 27, 2012 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Crowds wave Union flags in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, as they wait for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II during a two-day as part of the Diamond Jubilee tour

A handshake between the Queen and Martin McGuinness could not have happened in Enniskillen, a survivor of the town’s Remembrance Day bombing has said.

Stephen Gault — who was injured in the November 1987 IRA bombing — was speaking after relatives of the victims met with the Queen on the first day of the monarch’s two-day visit yesterday. Stephen’s father Samuel was one of 12 people killed in the bomb explosion at the town’s cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday 25 years ago.

Mr Gault, just appointed as a member of the 25-strong Victims and Survivors Forum, said it would have been a bridge too far for the meeting to take place in his native Enniskillen.

“I can’t speak for the rest of the families, but personally I would not have liked to have seen the handshake in Enniskillen,” Mr Gault said.

“There is all this talk, ‘would Martin McGuinness shake the hand of the Queen?’ The way I look at it is, ‘does the Queen want to shake his hand?’

“As long as the handshake didn’t happen in Enniskillen, I don’t think I’m really that bothered.”

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