UK & World News
Queen Visits Bomb-Hit Town Of Enniskillen
For the first time, the Queen has stepped inside a Roman Catholic church on the island of Ireland in what is being seen as a hugely symbolic moment.
It came as she visited the town of Enniskillen - the scene of one of the worst atrocities of The Troubles - during a two-day Diamond Jubilee tour of Northern Ireland.
Her Majesty was cheered as she waved to the crowds outside St Michael's Church and then those inside clapped as she entered the building.
Earlier in the day, the Queen attended a thanksgiving service at an Anglican cathedral in the town, on the eve of her historic handshake with Deputy First Minister and alleged former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.
Eleven people died in the IRA bombing of the war memorial on Remembrance Sunday 1987.
After the thanksgiving service, the Queen was thought to have met the families of some of the victims.
Her arrival in the province was delayed by almost an hour after bad weather forced the royal flight to divert from Enniskillen to Aldergrove Airport, near Belfast.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Enniskillen to greet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as they made their way to the cathedral in a chauffeur-driven car.
A trumpet fanfare marked their arrival in St Macartan's Cathedral through its west door, where they were welcomed by the Dean of Clogher, the Very Reverend Kenneth Hall.
Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Alan Harper, said her conciliatory words and gestures had allowed many to throw off the "shackles" that had been loosening since 1998's Good Friday Agreement, and to "positively" be themselves.
Relatives of the Enniskillen bombing victims have said they are relieved the Queen's controversial meeting with Mr McGuinness is taking place in Belfast, and not in the border town.
Stephen Gault, who lost his father, said: "Nobody has been brought to justice for Enniskillen so it's very hard for the families to accept Mr McGuinness shaking the Queen's hand."
Rev David Cupples, the local Presbyterian minister, lost seven members of his congregation in the explosion. He said people had mixed views on what has been billed as a breakthrough.
He said: "Until there is an apology, there'll never be closure on an emotional level but when you look to the bigger picture, people probably can see that it would be worthwhile."
Mr McGuinness was the alleged commander of the IRA's northern unit. He has always denied any involvement in what became known as the 'Poppy Day Massacre'.
Liam Clarke, who has written extensively on the Northern Ireland conflict, said it was ironic Her Majesty was visiting Enniskillen on the eve of her encounter with Mr McGuinness.
"He denies being in the IRA at that stage but most historians would say that Martin McGuinness was effectively the leading figure, the OC of northern command at that time".
Peace has transformed Enniskillen, with the Protestant cathedral hosting a jubilee service and the Roman Catholic church, opposite, an informal gathering.
And no one here ever thought they would see the day when both communities welcomed the Queen.
Mr McGuinness has said of the meeting with the monarch - a scenario unthinkable until recently - that it will allow him to "symbolically" shake the hands of "hundreds of thousands of unionists".
what do you think?
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I hope her majesrty does not forget to put her pistol in the famous handbag. You never know.
Ali, I think you only comment for the sake of it.
I agree totally with you Jim. She should not be put in this position and he certainly should not be allowed to even be at the event. He shows no remorse or sense of wrong doing for any of his actions - shame on the person/s who have put this together.
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Jim and Lynn, you are not alopne, I assure you!
The queen would have to agreed to any programme before it was published I believe this is more to do with making peace with the catholic population than Mr McGuiness Remember the IRA killed Lord Mountbatten a close relative of the queen
Yes, the IRA always liked the shot in the back, the murder of a police officer or a soldier in his bed in front of his family, the bomb, often with a false warning given so that the victims ran out past it, and the knee-capping. They also ensured that few RCs joined the RUC as they were targeted. They do not deserve to meet our Queen or be treated as equals in government. In 1922, most of Ireland was granted independence and less than a quarter of it was allocated to those who wanted to remain British. This has been forgotten. I admire Her Majesty's dignity and her ability to overcome the loss of Lord Mountbatten, but, frankly, we are asking too much of her.
Many people are having to go against the grain in the Peace Process. It's not easy. But we have had 14 years of peace in Northern Ireland and, believe me, we appreciate it. What the Queen is involved in is not just reconciliation between unionists and republicans but reconciliation between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This is historic and I believe it is a legacy the enormity of which will only be fully appreciated many years after Her Majesty is gone.
Wragg. Once again a clueless statement and blind to the fact that the so called quarter who voted were of British origin. So does that mean in time to come Muslims can have Devon and Cornwall? ... One rule for immigration in England and another rule for British immigrating.
Trust you to come up with such nonsense.
Ali - get back in your basket at once!
And scotland was known as Caldonia until the Scotie tribe move in from ireland So a few of them have moved back to northern ireland a protestants Just reclaimed what was theirs
What use is Irish nationalism ? Eighty years after breaking away, Ireland has a " Modern Liberal " government like the rest of Europe. Immigrants pour in from Africa and Asia, De Valera`s idea of a " Gaelic Roman Catholic republic " is as dead as a doornail. Scotland, beware !
I don't understand why you have been voted down on this as you are absolutely correct. The chapels of Southern Ireland are empty and there are nowhere near enough priests being ordained to staff them.
Look, at the moment, it suits our ruling class to continue with the peace process so the Queen will do as she's damn well told by them. What's the point of having a completely toothless head of state? All she does is represent whatever capitalist government is in power and goes along with whatever they say in the so-called 'Queen's Speech'. I guess that's why she gets paid so much tax payers' money, 'here's the dosh, now shut up and do as you're told'. Yes, such regal dignity. McGuiness and his cohorts knew they would never win using terrorist methods, that's why they decided to go 'legit'. Terrorism is a dead hand. They believed all they had to do was bomb and shoot people and they would get what they want. Meanwhile, as a part of the present assembly/government of Northern Ireland, the coalition of both protestant and catholic communities hand down the many cuts and job losses to ordinary working class people both protestant and catholic. Where's the progress there - apart from the end to the violence? Sinn Fein in the Irish state are just another political party of the establishment, they too, when they are ruling local councils just hand down cuts. They want a 'united' Ireland, but a capitalist one that provides very little for ordianry Irish people, no matter what their faiths.
Sorry to tell you this, Chris, but Sinn Fein's political ideal is just about identical to yours.
I doubt it. I don't believe in either terrorism or nationalism, both are dead ends.
I said their political ideal, not how they used to try to achieve it. And Nationalism is only another weapon to them. The stuff you chant is the same stuff Sinn Fein use to garner votes from their "supporters". Their real agenda is Trotskyism, but they like to keep that under the table until later when they have full control.
The Queen is just a puppet who is brought out when those in charge need something doing. She suits their purpose and does not have any say in the matter so she will just bite her tongue and get on with her so called duty.
So !! What would you like to see happen ?
Just pointing out a fact. She is a puppet.
I wonder if McGuinness or Adams will come to England to shake hands with the relatives of those killed in England during he bombing campaigns, with their hands extended in friendship.