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View Full Version : Britain's queen shakes hands with ex-IRA chief



Nickdfresh
06-27-2012, 01:14 PM
ReutersBy Conor Humphries and Ivan Little | Reuters – 34 mins ago
http://l1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/DJ5OgvbOoALPKuCfa4GLYg--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Y2g9NDEzO2NyPTE7Y3c9NTUwO2R4PTA7ZH k9MDtmaT11bGNyb3A7aD00NzQ7cT04NTt3PTYzMA--/http://l.yimg.com/os/152/2012/06/27/2012-06-27T145638Z-2-CBRE85Q0ZDN00-RTROPTP-2-IRISH-QUEEN-JPG_153207.jpg

BELFAST (Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth shook the hand of former IRA guerrilla commander Martin McGuinness for the first time on Wednesday, drawing a line under a conflict that cost the lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians, including that of her cousin.

The meeting with McGuinness, who is now the deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, comes 14 years after the Irish Republican Army ended its war against British rule in the province, and is one of the last big milestones in a peace process whose success has been studied around the world.

The queen met McGuinness, Northern Ireland's Unionist first minister Peter Robinson and Irish President Michael D.Higgins for just under 10 minutes behind closed doors in a theatre in a leafy suburb of Belfast cordoned off by hundreds of police.

McGuinness shook the gloved hand of the queen a second time as she left the theatre, this time in front of television cameras, but unlike other guests chose not to bow his head.

The queen's bright green outfit appeared to have been chosen with Ireland's national color in mind, and McGuinness wished a smiling monarch well in Irish, saying "Slan agus beannacht", which he told her means "Goodbye and God speed".

There has been scattered opposition to the gesture of reconciliation from dissident Irish militants and from some of the IRA's victims. But the vast majority of the province's politicians backed the meeting, the first between the queen and a top member of the IRA or its former political wing, Sinn Fein.

"Today is a huge event and it is, in a sense, the ultimate handshake," John Reid, British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2002, told the BBC.

"On all sorts of levels this is a hugely significant step but it is only one more step in a long process. This may take generations - to get back to absolute reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland."

OBSTACLE REMOVED

Ireland's president said the handshake was "something that had to be done" to remove an obstacle to reconciliation. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said the gesture was symbolic but added that "the journey isn't near completion".

A few hours later, the queen waved to crowds from an open-topped car at a celebration of her Diamond Jubilee attended by over 20,000 people - a stark contrast to the armored limousines that have been a mandatory precaution on previous visits.

The queen regularly meets senior Unionist politicians, Protestants who want Northern Ireland to stay inside the United Kingdom, but not Sinn Fein - the largest party representing Catholic nationalists who want a united Ireland.

McGuinness is a hero to Republican hardliners, but has long been a hate figure to Unionists, many of whom harbor deep suspicions about his past.

He admits he was on the front line in the war with British forces, including on Bloody Sunday in 1972, when troops shot dead 13 unarmed protesters, but says he never killed anyone.

A British report said that McGuinness probably was armed with a submachinegun on Bloody Sunday, but did nothing to provoke the massacre. He has said he left the IRA in 1974, but most historians believe he was active for most of its campaign.

For the queen and her consort Prince Philip, who shook McGuinness's hand more cursorily, the conflict had a personal edge.

The queen's cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was also Philip's uncle, was killed by the IRA in 1979 with three others, including his 14-year-old grandson, when his boat was blown up while he was on holiday in Ireland.

More than 1,000 members of the British security forces were among 3,600 people killed during the 30 years of the "Troubles".

McGuinness told the queen that he agreed with comments she made last year that all victims of the conflict should be remembered, according to a source who was at the meeting.

"STILL A REPUBLICAN"

McGuinness said on Tuesday that, while he represented people who had been badly hurt by British state violence, he was also big enough to understand that the queen and other families in Britain had also lost loved ones.

Asked by reporters after the meeting if his convictions had changed, he said he was "still a Republican".

Sinn Fein, which has become increasingly popular south of the Irish border as the main party opposing an EU/IMF bailout, is keen to bolster its image as a mainstream party and distance itself from a violent past that alienates many southern voters.

It still wants a referendum on whether Northern Ireland should remain part of Britain, but in the short term its aim is to be in government in the north and south simultaneously.

Only last year, Sinn Fein rejected invitations to attend events during the queen's landmark visit to the Irish capital Dublin, the first by a British monarch since the republic won independence from Britain in 1921.

Some Republicans branded McGuinness a traitor for meeting a queen who is also commander-in-chief of Britain's armed forces.

"People are not unhappy that someone is shaking her hand, just not him. He's a hypocrite," said Martin, a 42-year-old unemployed man who said he and his friends had got criminal records defending their neighborhood in working-class Belfast.

"He sent people out to fight. To die. And now he's putting on a suit and shaking her hand? I don't want war (but) this shouldn't have happened till the next generation."

With splinter groups continuing to attack British targets, security forces say the risk of an attack is at its highest level since the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in 1998.

Nine police suffered minor injuries on Tuesday night when they were pelted with petrol bombs and other missiles.

(Additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Yahoo.com (http://news.yahoo.com/britains-queen-meets-ex-ira-chief-mcguinness-100737189.html)

pdf27
06-27-2012, 06:14 PM
I'd love to be a fly on the wall and hear what Phil the Greek had to say (or rather would have said if he hadn't been gagged beforehand!).

downwithpeace
06-27-2012, 07:01 PM
I'd love to be a fly on the wall and hear what Phil the Greek had to say (or rather would have said if he hadn't been gagged beforehand!).

"Your boys didn't do all to well over in old Russia"

Chevan
07-31-2012, 12:54 PM
meanwhile the old russia declassify the recent riots in belfast (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK4VAkki1-s) which proves - not everything in British Kingdom so good and lucky like those both try to portray..

pdf27
07-31-2012, 02:37 PM
Things are quieting down over there then by the look of it. That time of year the rioting gets so bad they frequently have had to call on the army to support the police.

BTW Chevan, I think he was referring to Euro 2012 where the Irish lost every match they played. Not exactly Russia, but given what else the Duke of Edinburgh comes out with well in character ;)

leccy
07-31-2012, 06:49 PM
meanwhile the old russia declassify the recent riots in belfast (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK4VAkki1-s) which proves - not everything in British Kingdom so good and lucky like those both try to portray..

It was silly marching season in Northern Ireland, happens every year its an old tradition now.

Periodic riots are common in most countries, in Ulster though they have made it an annual event.

Pulls up a sandbag and lights the swinging lantern

"Its not like it was in the old days though, these youngsters just don't know how to riot, call that a riot, I have seen more violent knitting circles. "

And before any one says anything, yes I served over there during the troubles and lost friends, came close myself a few times.

pdf27
08-01-2012, 02:43 AM
I suspect knitting circles in Northern Ireland tend to be unusually violent ;)

leccy
08-01-2012, 05:42 AM
I suspect knitting circles in Northern Ireland tend to be unusually violent ;)

The only thing worse was the tea and cakes brigades, a huge collection of Irish ladies gathered in one spot to put the world to rights, gawd help you if you disturb them or get on their wrong side (and it was hard to be on the right side with them).

JR*
08-01-2012, 08:44 AM
Big deal. After all, one of our members, in a different thread, recently described the murder of 41,000 PoWs as "insignificant" and- correct me if I am wrong - I did not detect irony. Two decades of mayhem in Norn'Irn didn't come anywhere near to that. Worth bearing in mind that things have been pretty quiet up in "God's Own Country" for quite a few years now. Manufactured "events" like this - while unobjectionable - do little more than give the Sinn Féin Party some undeserved free publicity. Mind you, the "Shinners" do not seem to have learned the lesson that, for the time being at least, their scope for political penetration in the Republic of Ireland is very much more limited than in the abnormal nuthouse that is (and remains) the North. Overlooking twenty years of murder and mayhem may be a requirement for progress Up There; Down Here, the element of the population willing to do so is much smaller. Yours from the Barricades on King Street, JR.

Chevan
08-01-2012, 11:27 AM
Big deal. After all, one of our members, in a different thread, recently described the murder of 41,000 PoWs as "insignificant" and- correct me if I am wrong - I did not detect irony..
Check the irony more careful:)


Two decades of mayhem in Norn'Irn didn't come anywhere near to that
Sure, coz CIA didn't armed them with heavy weapon like those british-born "rebels" (http://www.rt.com/news/british-jihadists-fighting-syria-360/) in Syria.

Chevan
08-01-2012, 12:26 PM
It was silly marching season in Northern Ireland, happens every year its an old tradition now.
Periodic riots are common in most countries, in Ulster though they have made it an annual event.

Yes, i just puzzled why britih mass media didn't care about Ulster as much as they cares about violation rights in Moscow?We have recently the riots after the "another one crowning" of Putin, not violent but it had a essential echo in western mass media.

Nickdfresh
08-01-2012, 05:27 PM
Check the irony more careful:)

Sure, coz CIA didn't armed them with heavy weapon like those british-born "rebels" (http://www.rt.com/news/british-jihadists-fighting-syria-360/) in Syria.

The CIA isn't arming the Free Syrian Army, they don't need arms from the CIA. And one could argue the IRA were not much less well armed than today's FSA in terms of small arms and organic infantry weapons, some of which came from the States...

pdf27
08-02-2012, 02:57 AM
Boredom - they've had 30 years of reporting the same thing from Northern Ireland. Plus they find the name "Pussy Riot" irresistible - these are the British tabloids after all, who usually have topless women on at least one of the inside pages. Compared to that, their readers just aren't interested in yet another riot in Northern Ireland.

downwithpeace
08-02-2012, 11:08 AM
BTW Chevan, I think he was referring to Euro 2012 where the Irish lost every match they played. Not exactly Russia, but given what else the Duke of Edinburgh comes out with well in character ;)

That's about it, Old Russia - Soviet Union and him putting Poland Ukraine in to the mix ;)

Chevan
08-02-2012, 01:38 PM
The CIA isn't arming the Free Syrian Army, they don't need arms from the CIA. .
Alas, this is no more a secret (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all). Seems you post recently the thread about CIA-Turkey innerraction?

Nickdfresh
08-02-2012, 07:09 PM
Alas, this is no more a secret (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/world/middleeast/cia-said-to-aid-in-steering-arms-to-syrian-rebels.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all). Seems you post recently the thread about CIA-Turkey innerraction?

Could be, but the Free Syrian Army has mostly organic infantry small arms. The CIA is now involved, but so what? The FSA guerrillas are still toting small unit infantry arms...

They don't have the tanks and artillery your government is selling them for massacres...