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Queen's visit is 'premature' and will cause offence, says Adams

The Sinn Féin president says the ongoing partition of Ireland means the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the Republic is ill-timed.

Queen Elizabeth meets President Mary McAleese, and her husband Martin, in 2008: the Queen is likely to visit Ireland in May of this year.
Queen Elizabeth meets President Mary McAleese, and her husband Martin, in 2008: the Queen is likely to visit Ireland in May of this year.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has said the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the Republic of Ireland this year is ‘premature’, and will offend many people within the country.

In a statement published in this morning’s Belfast Telegraph, Adams – who was last week elected a TD in the Louth constituency – said the visit, which was confirmed yesterday, was inappropriately timed given the ongoing partition of Ireland.

“As republicans, Sinn Féin is very aware of the symbolism of a state visit by Queen Elizabeth of England and of the offence it will cause to many Irish citizens,” Adams said.

While Sinn Féin was in favour of the “normalisation” of the relationship between Ireland and the UK, this process would require the end of partition and the ability of the Irish people “to shape our own society free from outside interference”.

The views of Ireland’s “unionist neighbours” would be respected, but Adams said Sinn Féin expected its view – that the visit is “premature” – would be similarly respected.

The visit has been welcomed by other political parties, however; Taoiseach-in-waiting Enda Kenny said he looked forward to “this historic visit”, which would be warmly welcomed by the “vast majority” of the people of Ireland.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the visit was “a further milestone in the transformation of relationships between our countries that has been ongoing for many years”. Labour’s Joan Burton, meanwhile, told RTÉ the visit was overdue.

The visit of the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, will be the first by a British monarch since independence, and the first to the country since the Queen’s grandfather, George V, visited in 1911.

Though the date of the visit has not been confirmed, it is likely to take place in May after the wedding of her grandson Prince William and the assembly elections in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland; but prior to the visit of Barack Obama to the UK at the end of May.

Poll: Is it time that the Queen visited Ireland? >

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Gavan Reilly

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