McGuinness open to meeting Queen


Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has said he has not ruled out meeting Queen Elizabeth.

The Mid-Ulster MP attended an event to promote Northern Ireland at St James’ Palace in London during the week.

The Stormont Deputy First Minister said the visit by the Queen to the Republic in May had made an impact on him.

Speaking on BBC’s Inside Politics programme today, Mr McGuinness said: "I’ve made it clear that the visit of Queen Elizabeth of Britain to the South was something that we looked at with considerable interest."

"And I think the fact that she was prepared to recognise the importance of the Irish language; that she was prepared to stand in a very dignified way to honour those patriots who struggled in 1916 to bring about a free and independent 32-county Irish Republic, that made an impact upon me.

"So that’s an issue that I will ponder and I wouldn’t rule anything out."

When the Queen made her first official state visit here in May, Sinn Féin did not take part in any of the main ceremonies.

However, last September Mr McGuinness said he would be prepared to meet all heads of state "without exception", if he was elected president of Ireland.