This morning's planned meeting in Galway between Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness with Britain's Prince Charles is a great moment of "national reconciliation", a Galway senator has said.
Galway Sinn Féin senator, and the party's Election 2016 Galway West candidate Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, said the "meeting is intended as a symbolic and substantive contribution to developing reconciliation and healing processes". The decision for Messrs Adams and McGuinness to meet the Prince of Wales was taken on Saturday, where the party’s Ard Chomhairle decided that party representatives of Sinn Féin would attend events.
Dep Adams will be among a number of politicians to greet the prince as he begins his four-day visit. The meeting will be the first in the Republic of Ireland between the Sinn Féin leadership and a member of the British Royal Family. In 2012, Martin McGuinness met Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in Belfast in his role as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister.
Sen Ó Clochartaigh said the meeting "is based upon the reality that suffering and pain has taken place on all sides" and that there must be acknowledgement of the "loss experienced by every side on the basis of equality and respect for each other".
"Justice and truth for all victims and their families remains a central part of moving our peace process forward," he said, "in particular all those campaigns and families for whom these have been denied."
The British Royal visit to NUI Galway will be streamed live from 12 noon on www.nuigalway.ie/royalvisit/