Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill talks Brexit, borders and Bloody Sunday with Prince Charles

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill meeting Prince Charles at Hillsborough Castle. Picture by Kelvin Boyes/PressEye/PA
Brendan Hughes

DEPUTY First Minister Michelle O'Neill has said she discussed Brexit, the partition of Ireland and Bloody Sunday with Prince Charles.

The Sinn Féin deputy leader yesterday met with the British royal at Hillsborough Castle during a visit to Northern Ireland with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales also met First Minister Arlene Foster, Secretary of State Brandon Lewis and Sinn Féin junior minister Declan Kearney.

Ms O'Neill said they met with Prince Charles to discuss a range of topics including the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We discussed Brexit and we made it clear to him that there is no such thing as a good Brexit for the north, that the British government's breaking of international law threatens the Good Friday Agreement and that what has been agreed with the EU must be implemented," she said.

"We also discussed the upcoming centenary of partition and explained to him that for Irish republicans, nationalists and democrats there is nothing to celebrate about the partition of our country.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall view athrone made for the party at the end of filming of Game of Thrones by local man Bob Johnson of Bobs baskets during a visit to the Ulster Museum in Belfast. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 30, 2020. See PA story ROYAL Ulster. Photo credit should read: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA Wire

"We are looking to a new future beyond partition through the creation of a new Ireland built on equality, reconciliation and respect.

"We also discussed the need for the British government to deal with the legacy of the past and raised our disappointment at the decision not to pursue additional prosecutions of the British soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday massacre."

Earlier this week the Public Prosecution Service announced it was retaining its original decision to bring charges against no more than one soldier over Bloody Sunday, following a review of the cases of 15 veterans.

Thirteen people were killed and 15 wounded when the British army opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Derry in January 1972.

DUP leader Mrs Foster, who met Prince Charles alongside party deputy leader Nigel Dodds, said on Twitter she was "delighted to welcome the Prince of Wales to Northern Ireland".

Earlier, Charles and Camilla thanked young nurses in Belfast who completed their training early to assist in the battle against coronavirus.

The royal couple arrived at the Ulster Museum in south Belfast and spent time speaking with nurses who had transitioned early from Queen's University Belfast and the Open University into clinical roles.

Charles and Camilla were also shown an exhibition marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, and they took an interest in a handwoven replica of the famous Iron Throne from fantasy TV series Game Of Thrones.

Formerly, Sinn Féin members did not attend events with members of the royal family, including a historic visit Queen Elizabeth made to the Republic in 2011.

However, there was a landmark change in 2012 when the former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness met and shook hands with the British monarch.

Prince Charles with First Minister Arlene Foster and DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds at Hillsborough Castle

Handout photo of Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and Junior Minister Declan Kearney meeting the Prince of Wales at Hillsborough Castle during his visit to Belfast. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 30, 2020. See PA story ROYAL Ulster. Photo credit should read: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye/PA Wire..NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder..

Handout photo of First Minister Arlene Foster meeting the Prince of Wales at Hillsborough Castle during his visit to Belfast. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 29, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Ulster. Photo credit should read: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye/PA Wire..NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder..

 

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