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McGuinness 'would now be open to meeting Queen'

The Sinn Féin figure said the Queen’s behaviour during her visit to Ireland had “made an impact” on him.

Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MARTIN McGUINNESS HAS said he would not rule out meeting and greeting Queen Elizabeth II in future, despite refusing to attend events when she visited Ireland.

He told the BBC today that he “wouldn’t rule anything out” and would “ponder” meeting the Queen.

McGuinness was speaking after taking part in a promotional event for Northern Ireland this week at St James’s Palace, one of the royal residences.

When Queen Elizabeth visited Ireland last May, McGuinness declined invitations to attend official events. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams even raised the issue in the Dáil, asking Taoiseach Enda Kenny to respect the party’s right to abstain.

But McGuinness said today that the visit had “made an impact” on him, the Press Association reports.

He cited the fact that “she was prepared to recognise the importance of the Irish language; that she was prepared to stand in a very dignified way to honour those patriots who struggled in 1916 to bring about a free and independent 32-county Irish Republic”.

While campaigning for Ireland’s presidency last year, McGuinness said he would be prepared to meet any head of state, including the Queen, if he was elected.

More: Gerry Adams: I’m not quitting as Sinn Féin leader>

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Michael Freeman

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