Varadkar: SF refusal would be 'enormous step backwards'22/06/2012 - 12:21:30
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar says it would be an "enormous step backwards" in British-Irish relations if Sinn Féin refuses to meet Queen Elizabeth.
The British monarch will be in the North next week as part of her Jubilee celebrations.
The Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle is meeting in Dublin this morning to decide if the North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness should accept an invitation to meet her in Belfast.
Minister Varadkar said he believes Mr McGuinness should avail of the opportunity to meet the Queen and shake her hand.
“Queen Elizabeth has shown huge forgiveness for Sinn Féin and Martin McGuinness, who used to head the IRA, by being willing to shake the hand of the head of an organisation that murdered one of her family and a number of young Irish children in the process," Minister Varadkar said.
“It would be an enormous step backwards if Sinn Féin were unwilling to accept that gesture of generosity."
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