McGuinness 'surprised' by Jubilee party
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said he was surprised by the announcement of plans to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at Stormont.
Monday, 11 June 2012
The Northern Ireland Office revealed last week that a party would take place in the grounds of Parliament Buildings on 27 June.
However, Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said Sinn Féin had not been consulted and that she would not be attending the event.
Speaking on Monday, Mr McGuinness described the NIO announcement as "unfortunate" and said he was surprised by it.
He added that there is currently no "doable proposition" for a representative of his party to meet with the Queen.
"This would be a huge ask for any Irish republican and, as we speak at the moment, we do not have a doable proposition in relation to that matter," Mr McGuinness said.
"In relation to the controversy at the weekend, at the last Executive meeting we handled the whole situation around the decision of Peter Robinson and unionist ministers to send a gift to the Queen in a very diplomatic and sensible manner.
"The announcement made by the NIO on Friday was unfortunate."
UTV's Jane Loughrey says negotiations are taking place "behind the scenes" to resolve the matter before the royal visit.
The celebration at the Stormont estate later this month is due to happen as part of the Queen's two-day visit to the region during her Jubilee tour of the UK.
Around 10,000 free tickets will be made available to the public, with details of how to apply set to be released later this week.
First Minister Peter Robinson welcomed the announcement last week.
"It is fitting that such a celebration should take place in the Stormont Estate," the DUP leader said