Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness 'would consider meeting Prince on Ireland trip'

By Rebecca Black

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said he is open to the idea of meeting Prince Charles.

The Prince of Wales is due to visit Northern Ireland and the Republic later this month in a historic trip following the Queen's visit to the Republic in 2011 - the first royal visit to Ireland since independence.

It was after that hugely successful event that the Sinn Fein man made history by shaking the monarch's hand the following year when she visited Belfast.

Now he says he would "certainly consider" meeting Prince Charles.

It is believed the Prince will visit the site in Co Sligo where the IRA murdered his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten, his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, Fermanagh boathand Paul Maxwell (15) and the Dowager Lady Brabourne (82).

As well as paying their respects in Mullaghmore where Mountbatten was killed in August 1979, the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall are planning to visit Dublin and Galway.

The only person convicted for the bombing, Thomas McMahon, has been canvassing for Sinn Fein in recent weeks. Mr McGuinness, a former IRA chief, made no comment about Mr McMahon's involvement in an interview with Sky News yesterday. He said he had not had any discussions over whether to meet Charles during the four-day trip.

Mr McGuinness told Sky News: "We haven't had any discussions about that so far. We have just had a news report that this visit will be happening, and that he intends to visit both Sligo and Galway, and the speculation is that he will visit the site of Mullaghmore where his great-uncle lost his life. Obviously, in terms of the acts of reconciliation that there have been with Queen Elizabeth on several occasions, if this visit fits into the whole process of reconciliation, then I think that will be a good thing."

Asked if he would meet the Prince, Mr McGuinness said: "If there is any offer made for that to happen we will certainly consider it, but it would be absolutely in the context of continuum of the theme which his mother was clearly very much a part of when she came to Dublin and Belfast and met with me on several occasions."

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