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Hello ma'am: Martin McGuinness accepts invitation to dine with the Queen

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams confirmed this evening that McGuinness is to accept the invitation as part of the “new and positive relationship between Ireland and Britain”.

Martin McGuinness and Queen Elizabeth II shake hands at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast in 2012.
Martin McGuinness and Queen Elizabeth II shake hands at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast in 2012.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

SINN FÉIN DEPUTY leader Martin McGuinness has accepted an invitation to a banquet with Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor Castle next week in honor of President Michael D Higgins.

There had been some speculation about whether or not the Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister would be attending events as part of the State visit which begins on Monday.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams confirmed this evening that McGuinness is to accept the invitation as part of the “new and positive relationship between Ireland and Britain”.

“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,” Adams said.

He acknowledged that some SF supporters may be critical of the move but asked them to understand the reasoning behind it.

“This decision may caused 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 the island,” he said.

“The real significance and value of President Higgins’s visit will only be realised if peace and the political processes are built upon by both governments. This means implementing all outstanding elements of the Good Friday and other Agreements”.

McGuinness is to attend a number of events during the five-day visit by Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina.

Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore, and Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson are all due to attend the state dinner.

Read: Westminster, Windsor and a trip to the farm: President Higgins’s trip to London > 

Read: Here’s Queen Elizabeth having the chats with Niall Horan and other Irish folk > 

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