Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Queen Shakes Hands With IRA Leader

Today will mark quite a momentous occasion in Northern Irish politics, as Her Majesty The Queen will shake hands with former IRA chief Martian McGuinness. For many people who have suffered throughout the conflict this will be a difficult occasion to accept, for others this is yet another step forward to the longevity of peace in the Province.

The Queen of course herself having suffered directly at the hands of the IRA with the terrible death of her cousin Lord Mountbatten. Lord Mountbatten was visiting his regular holiday home not far from the Irish boarder in Sligo, the terrible attack took place on his boat not far from shore and of course it was not just Lord Mountbatten who was killed, other members of the crew where also killed including two 15 year old kids.

It is also true to say that on both side of the divide many people have suffered and lost loved ones. I my self am from N. Ireland and lived there throughout the height of the troubles, it was living in this environment that actually help in my decision to join the British Army. I too have lost many friends at the hands of religious hatred.

Although Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams have never actually been caught with blood on their hands in a literal sense, they have certainly been accused of issuing the orders for hundreds of men and women to be killed. Making this visit all the more controversial. It is important in any conflict for all sides involved to meet and try to resolve their differences and not always will this be an easy accomplishment nor will it have the backing from all involved. However I fear it is a compulsory part of peace no matter how much it may stick in ones throat.

Some people of course fear that this move today could symbol the start of an acceptance from Sinn Fein that in order to take a seat in the Houses of Parliament, they must recognise Her Majesty as the Queen of the UK, something Sinn Fein have always denied or rather not recognising. If this where to happen then Sinn Fein could actually take part in political decision making for the UK.

N. Ireland is a very different place today from that of the place I grew up, however there are still unfortunately religious tensions which are quite fragile. Occasions such as this are important in creating stronger foundations to the peace and making the entire situation a much easier one to the breath around and enjoy as opposed to always sitting on tender hooks just anticipating the next break down in communication. Everyone, no matter which side of the divide in N. Ireland, very much deserves peace and a home where their children can grow without hatred based simply on religion.

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