Sinn Fein leadership meets Prince Charles
Sinn Fein leaders for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have met with Prince Charles in a private meeting in Cork.
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD said she was glad to avail of the opportunity to “extend the hand of friendship of those in Ireland who identify as British”.
Deputy McDonald was accompanied by Sinn Féin Vice President Michelle O’Neill MLA, the pair spending over 30 minutes together with Prince Charles in the meeting.
Ms McDonald said: “Today’s meeting was an opportunity to extend the hand of friendship, not just to Prince Charles or to the British Royal family - whose efforts to promote reconciliation I want to acknowledge - but to those on our island who identify as British, and who are British.
“As I have stated previously, the Ireland I want to be part of building is a county where one can comfortably be Irish or British, both or neither.
“All identities and traditions on our island must be respected.
“This is about building on the courageous work of Martin McGuinness and others.
“The conflict in our country caused great suffering and pain.
“The past has fostered distrust on all sides of political discourse across the island.
“That is the reality, but in extending the hand of friendship we can help to build a better future for all. We are on an ongoing journey of building trust.
“The past may inform who we are, but it cannot define where we are going.
“Acknowledging the loss of victims and families on the basis of equality and respect for each other is essential.
“Reconciling difference, dealing with the past, challenging sectarian attitudes and working together to find common ground are how we move our society forward.
“As a political leaders Michelle O’Neill and I are committed to playing our parts in that work and I want to extend the hand of friendship to our Unionist brothers and sisters this evening.”