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Moving On

Gerry: Prince Charles and I don't have much in common, but we're both tree huggers

That’s a start.

GERRY ADAMS HAS said he and Prince Charles don’t have much in common, but share a love of nature.

The Sinn Féin leader shared a historic handshake with the first in line to the British throne yesterday, before holding a private meeting with the Prince and Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

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Adams said their discussion focused on the Troubles.

“I’m from Ballymurphy as you all know and sixteen people were killed in Ballymurphy, in Springhill, in two events. They included three children, they included a mother of eight, they included – which is quite amazing – two Catholic priests as well as ten local neighbours, friends of mine. Those families are still campaigning.”

Adams said he raised “the fact that the British government have yet to send files” to Irish authorities about the Dublin and Monaghan bombing.

He said they also discussed the death of prince’s greatuncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was killed by an IRA bomb at Mullaghmore harbour in County Sligo 36 years ago.

It was a very cordial engagement, it was an affable engagement. It’s my view that this man wants to help that process, that’s why I did the meeting.

Adams added that the meeting was both symbolic and “another practical step on the journey that we’re all on” and called on the government and other parties to “build on it”.

I think it was good for everyone. I’m very mindful of victims and survivors of the conflict – on all sides, but I think it was a very good step. It was a big thing for Charles to do, it was a big thing for us to do.

When asked if he would have believed someone who told him ten years ago he would be shaking the hand of Prince Charles, Adams stated: “I always have been a believer.”

“I would have very little in common, obviously, with a member of the British Royal family. I would never be reconciled to partition or the British government’s involvement in the affairs of the people of this island.

But, at the same time, he and I are of an age, we’re both tree huggers. We have other things in common but, more importantly, we both have suffered bereavement in the course of the conflict.

“What Mandela said famously, you know, you don’t make peace with your friends. Let’s try and make friends with our neighbours, including those on on nearest offshore island.”

Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, are continuing their four-day Irish tour today – with visits to Lissadell House, the Model Arts Centre, WB Yeats’ grave, Mullaghmore harbour, and the Sligo racecourse.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will join the Prince and the Duchess, along with former President Mary McAleese and Dr Martin McAleese, at an ecumenical service of peace and reconciliation being organised by the Sligo Churches Together group at St Columba’s Church in Drumcliffe.

The granddaughter of Bloody Sunday victim Gerard McKinney, Bethany McLoughlin, will sing at the ceremony.

Gerry Adams and Prince Charles just shared a historic handshake

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