Irish presidential hopeful Martin McGuinness has promised to continue the tradition of hosting a garden party in Aras an Uachtarain on July 12 — for Orangemen to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne.
Mr McGuinness said the ‘Twelfth’ event initiated by Mary McAleese at the home of the president was something he was “determined” to continue if elected.
July 12 is the anniversary of the victory of Prince William of Orange over Catholic King James II in the Battle of the Boyne.
“I'd be very determined to do that,” Mr McGuinness said. “I'm passionate about ensuring that the doors of the Aras are kept open to our unionist brothers and sisters.
“We've made huge strides forward in the North and I've been in government for five years with Peter Robinson and Ian Paisley and important things are happening in the North and we've got to keep that going.
“That's why I've proposed we should have a ‘Decade of Reconciliation' from 2012 in this country because a lot of people have been hurt as a result of the conflict — and I think I've been at the heart of a process that has unified the people of Ireland for peace against any other conflict of Ireland. The more unionists are made feel welcome and invited here and respected, the better it is.”
He also said he'd like to welcome the homeless to the Phoenix Park residence on Christmas Day.
He was speaking on the campaign trail in Cork and Kerry yesterday.
In Kerry he did a walkabout in Killarney and Listowel, spoke to farmers at Castleisland mart and addressed a rally in Tralee.
Today, Mr McGuinness will be in Co Tipperary before travelling to Dublin where he will be interviewed for RTE’s Six One News.