Queen meeting 'emotional for republicans'
Next week's meeting between Martin McGuinness and the Queen will be a highly emotional occasion for republicans, according to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.
Sunday, 24 June 2012
Her Majesty is due to make a two-day visit to Northern Ireland and will meet the deputy First Minister in Belfast on Wednesday, where it's understood a historic handshake will take place in private.
"We recognise that this decision for Martin to attend the event carries very significant, symbolic, political and emotional weight for the people of this island - and especially for the republican people of this island," Mr Adams said, addressing republicans at an event in the Felons' Club in west Belfast on Sunday.
"We're very conscious that some victims of British violence might be upset by such a meeting and that's their right, that's their entitlement."
But Mr Adams thanked those families affected who had responded in a positive way.
"I want to speak directly to unionists," Mr Adams then added.
"We acknowledge the British Queen's place in the hearts and minds and sentiments of the unionist communities - though, as republicans, we do not subscribe to the ideas of royalty and monarchy.
"This meeting is therefore a meeting of equals. Our leader Martin McGuinness is equal to everyone else at that meeting next week."
Mr Adams further held that Sinn Fein was right not to meet with the Queen during her visit to the Republic of Ireland last year, but said that this was "a different visit, in a different context".