'No objection' to release of photo of McGuinness meeting Britain's Queen Elizabeth - Gerry Adams

Monday 25 June 2012 15.59
Martin McGuinness is due to meet Britain's Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday
Martin McGuinness is due to meet Britain's Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said the party has no objection to any photograph of a handshake between Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Martin McGuinness being made public.

Mr McGuinness, Deputy First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly, is among the guests who are due to attend a function hosted by President Michael D Higgins and Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday morning.

The two are the patrons of charity Co-operation Ireland, which is staging the event to celebrate the arts on the island of Ireland.

It will be the first time a senior Sinn Féin figure meets and shakes hands with a British monarch, and there had been speculation that a photograph of the handshake would not be made public.

However, Mr Adams has told RTÉ News the party would have no objection to this happening.

The Louth TD said he has spent the past couple of days speaking with supporters in Northern Ireland following the party's decision over the meeting.

He said that while some people had expressed their opposition to the move, "everybody is united" in having a discussion around the issue.

Mr Adams said the "magnanimous" response from the families of "our patriot dead" was particularly "uplifting".

He said the unionist community sees Queen Elizabeth "as their Queen" and that the meeting between her and Mr McGuinness was born out "of respect" for this and the need "to go beyond the rhetoric".

Mr Adams is to brief party members in west Belfast later today on the decision to accept an invitation for Mr McGuinness to meet Queen Elizabeth.

She is set to spend two days in Northern Ireland as part of her Jubilee celebrations, with this function likely to be the most publicised element of her visit.

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