Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness concern over Royal visit to mark 1916

By Niall O'Connor

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has expressed reservations about the prospect of a Royal visit to the Republic of Ireland during the 1916 commemorations.

The former IRA commander said that such a proposal must be debated "in a sensible way" and claimed that some historians have suggested that a visit by the Queen and other members of the royal family could be considered "inappropriate".

The prospect of a royal visit emerged during the state visit to Britain earlier this month by Irish president Michael D Higgins.

Irish government sources say they expect Prince Charles to attend some of the events, however Fine Gael figures have mooted the prospect of a visit by William and Kate.

In a symbolic engagement, Mr McGuinness shook the hand of the Queen in the grand hall of Windsor Castle and complimented her on the role she played in building the peace process.

 But Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister yesterday refused to say whether he would meet members of the royal family if they were invited to commemorate the Rising.

"I think what we have to commemorate first and foremost is the Easter Rising and all those heroes who liberated this part of Ireland," he said.

Speaking in Dublin ahead of the campaign launch of the party's euro candidate Lynn Boylan, Mr McGuinness said he believed the focus of the Irish people would be on remembering those who lost their lives in the Rising.

"I think it's much too soon to presume who is going to be attending.

"My focus, and I think the focus of the Irish people, has to be on those people who gave their lives for Irish freedom and of course all of those who have suffered since as a result of conflict," said Mr McGuinness.

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