McGuinness Queen visit welcomed

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (2502MM05)
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. (2502MM05)

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’ decision to attend a banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle could be “transformational,” a local cleric has said.

Dr David Latimer, minister at First Derry Presbyterian Church said the visit is a “momentous milestone” in the relationship between Ireland and Britain.

Mr McGuinness will attend the event at Windsor Castle tomorrow evening as part of the state visit to Britain by President Michael D. Higgins.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will also attend the banquet.

Mr McGuinness will become the first republican leader to attend such an event the invitation of a British monarch. Commenting ahead of the visit, Dr Latimer said; “The willingness of both Martin McGuinness, former IRA leader and Her Majesty the Queen, a victim of IRA terrorism, to dine together in the Royal residence at Windsor this week is momentous.

Two very different people deciding to ‘walk the talk’ is remarkable by any standards. Somewhere out at the edges the night is turning, which should incentivise us to do what deep in our hearts we know needs to be done and that’s to keep moving forward together.”

Mr McGuinness shook hands with the Queen in 2012.