Inishowen councillor Jack Murray described tomorrow’s meeting between Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness and the Queen of England as a ‘historic milestone.’
He said: “The meeting between Martin McGuinness, a leading member of the republican movement and the Queen of England will be a historic milestone on the peaceful journey to Irish unity and independence.
“Clearly the meeting will cause some unease amongst many Irish people, particularly amongst those families who lost loved ones at the hands of British crown forces. The decision by Sinn Féin to meet the English queen was done so in recognition that the Six Counties is a disputed area with two communities having different alligences.”
Councillor Murray said the meeting between the Irish President, the Queen of England and the North’s Deputy First Ministers shows a mutual respect for Ireland’s different cultures.
He said: “Republican leaders have a duty to show our unionist neighbours that their culture will be respected and protected in the United Ireland of the future. Tomorrow’s meeting will be a demonstration of that respect.
“Political leadership means making difficult choices. Sinn Féin is a party capable of making those choices in order to continue our journey towards the Thirty-Two County Republic.”
Mr McGuinness, the North’s Deputy First Minister is to meet the Queen of England at a reception organised by Co-operation Ireland. The group is hosting a celebration of culture on the island of Ireland in Belfast’s Lyric Theatre.
Welcoming the planned meeting, Buncrana Town Councillor Michelle Bradley said it definitely a step forward for the whole country.
The Fine Gael representative said “The fact that Martin McGuinness will be meeting the Queen of England is a measure of how far the Peace Process has come in Northern Ireland. The meeting is showing respect for all points of view. It demonstrates that there are only positive relationships between Ireland and England. It is putting Ireland on to the world stage. Most people will see the meeting as positive. I personally do not see how it could be perseived as anything but positive for the whole country.”