Belfast Telegraph

Adams: Meeting of minds with Prince

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has claimed he had a meeting of minds talking to the Prince of Wales about lives lost in Northern Ireland's 30-year conflict.

On the opening day of his trip to Ireland, Charles and the republican leader shared a historic handshake to set the tone for the symbolically charged four-day visit before the men held a 10-minute private discussion.

Mr Adams said the two men expressed regrets over deaths in the Troubles and spoke about the 1979 IRA bombing in which his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten was murdered, and other atrocities.

"Both he and we expressed our regret for what happened from 1968 onwards," Mr Adams said.

"We were of a common mind and the fact that the meeting took place, it obviously was a big thing for him to do and a big thing for us to do."

The poignant royal visit will take an emotional turn tomorrow when Charles visits the assassination site in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, and meets some of those who pulled the earl and the other dead and injured from the Atlantic.

Charles agreed to the meeting at the National University of Ireland Galway after a request by the Sinn Fein president, a move which would have been unthinkable until a few years ago.

Lord Mountbatten, the 79-year-old cousin of the Queen, was targeted by the IRA as he set off with family and a local teenager to gather lobster pots and fish for shrimp 600 yards from the harbour of the normally peaceful fishing village of Mullaghmore.

He was murdered with Lady Doreen Brabourne, the 83-year-old mother-in-law of the earl's daughter, his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, and 14-year-old Paul Maxwell, from Killynure, Enniskillen.

It is understood royal sources are looking on the meeting with Mr Adams as productive and conciliatory and that due credit is being given to the Queen.

The Royal couple concluded the first day of their tour by joining Irish president Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina for a private dinner. They dined at Lough Cutra Castle in south County Galway.

The historic building, which overlooks the picturesque Lough Cutra, provided a grand setting for the Royals' final engagement.

On arrival, the couples greeted each other in the stone-tiled hallway before retiring to the ornate Gough room. It is understood Charles and President Higgins developed a good rapport during the latter's state visit to the UK last year.

They again spent time in each other's company when both attended commemorative events in Turkey last month to mark the centenary of the First World War's ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.

On the menu at the castle tonight was blanched Highgrove asparagus to start, followed by pan seared halibut, with pannacotta and poached Highgrove rhubarb for dessert

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