Gerry Adams and other Sinn Féin officials to attend Prince Charles visit

Republican party chief says both sides suffered during Troubles, but royal trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland is a chance ‘to promote reconciliation’

Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, has confirmed that his party members will attend events connected to Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland this week.

The royal couple’s itinerary includes a trip to the County Sligo beauty spot where an IRA bomb killed Charles’ great uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, in 1979.
Two teenage boys, Mountbatten’s grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, 14, and a 15-year-old local boy, Paul Maxwell, also died in the explosion. Lady Brabourne, 82, another passenger on the boat, died from her injuries 24 hours later.
At the time, Sinn Féin justified the killing of Mountbatten as a legitimate IRA operation, which happened on the same day that the IRA killed 18 British soldiers with two huge bombs at Narrow Water, Co Down, in Northern Ireland.

Ahead of the prince and his wife’s trip to the west of Ireland, Adams said his party had discussed the visit at the Sinn Féin national executive meeting at the weekend, in Kilkenny.

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams Photograph: Freddie Parkinson/Barcroft Media

Adams said on Monday: “At the time of the announcement of the visit I said that it should be an opportunity to promote reconciliation and build on the good work done by Martin McGuinness and the English Queen.

“Prince Charles is Colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment, a unit of the British army responsible for killing many Irish citizens, including in Derry, Ballymurphy, Springhill and other communities across the north.

Adams said: “But he also has been bereaved by the actions of republicans. Thankfully the conflict is over. But there remains unresolved injustices. These must be rectified and a healing process developed.“There is a responsibility on us all to promote reconciliation and seek to promote healing. It is with that in mind that the Ard Chomhairle (national executive) decided that Sinn Féin representatives will attend a number of events during this visit.”

However, he did not specify which events his party representatives would attend. Security around the royal couple particularly in the west of Ireland is expected to be tight.

Last week, Irish police arrested six men allegedly connected to Irish republican dissident groups opposed to peace. The detentions were part of a security operation by the Garda Síochána ahead of the royal visit.

Three men appeared at the weekend in the republic’s special criminal court, charged with offences including directing acts of terrorism and the possession of explosives. In total, gardaí recovered a pistol and four separate bomb-making parts, including time power units used to set off devices in operations ranging from Co Leitrim to Co Louth.


Henry McDonald Ireland correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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