McGuinness to attend Queen banquet

Published Saturday, 05 April 2014
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Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will attend a state banquet at Windsor Castle hosted by the Queen, Sinn Féin has confirmed.

McGuinness to attend Queen banquet
The Queen shakes hands with Martin McGuinness in 2012 (© PA)

Mr McGuinness will also be a special guest at other events organised during the official visit by Irish President Michael D Higgins to the UK next week.

In a statement, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said Mr McGuinness will visit Windsor Castle and attend other official events in London during the four-day state visit, which officially begins on Tuesday.

"The President's visit must be viewed against the backdrop of the huge political changes that have taken place in recent years," Mr Adams said.

"It is within this context that I can confirm that deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will accept an invitation to attend all events as part of the State visit.

"While Martin McGuinness's involvement in President Higgins's State visit may not be welcome by opponents of change, it is yet another example of Sinn Féin's commitment to an inclusive future based on tolerance and equality.

"This decision may cause difficulty for some Irish republicans in light of ongoing difficulties in the north but, I would appeal to them to view this positively in the context of republican and democratic objectives and the interests of unity and peace on this island," Mr Adams added.

The Queen formally invited President Higgins and his wife Sabina to stay at Windsor Castle, in what will be the first official state visit by an Irish head of state to the UK, last year.

The ground-breaking visit follows the Queen's historic trip to Ireland in May 2011.

At the time Mr McGuinness had snubbed the gala banquet held in Her honour at Dublin Castle.

Over a year later, the Queen and Mr McGuinness made history when they met and shook hands in Belfast's Lyric Theatre.

President Higgins and his wife are due to arrive at London Heathrow Airport on Monday afternoon.

They will stay with the royals at Windsor Castle until Friday morning.

The State Banquet for the President of Ireland held at Windsor Castle will take place on Tuesday night - the Queen and President Higgins will both make speeches at the start of the event.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Holly in Newtownabbey wrote (295 days ago):
@M in Belfast. You seem to have much to say about nothing regarding everyone else's comments on this site. You play the bigot card when you read something that you disagree with and don't substantiate on what actually offends you. Some people are very proud to live within the United Kingdom, both Catholic & Protestant. Does that make them bigots in your book?? Grow up and accept other peoples opinions without stupid remarks about table manners, who the Queen would invite to dinner and quoting what most decent people think. Where's your respect for these people you are deliberately and personally trying to offend. You come across as quite pathetic and a hypocrite. Ps I don't think the Queen would invite you to dinner
Jos in Belfast wrote (296 days ago):
@ thanks for the laughs . The laugh is that the Queen is meeting with the President of the Irish Republic in Windsor Castle. She has also laid a whreath on the graves of the republican 1916 leaders. So if that is not been friendly with republicans then what is. Move on everyone else has except a few who still want the old stormont regime. Now their there never never never attitude are the laughing stock of the UK and Ireland.
Observer in Online wrote (296 days ago):
God Save Our Gracious Queen! Its very gracious of her majesty to allow the likes of McGuiness to attend this event.
derrybhoy in Derry wrote (296 days ago):
As a proud Derryman i'm extremly proud of what Martin McGuinnes has done to bring peace to this island, so if the visit of Martin McGuinnes meeting the Queen, it can only enhance. The peace process
paul in larne wrote (296 days ago):
john in creggan - so therefore the para's should be invited to londonderry?? fairs fair, its equality afterall lol
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