Unfolding of an historic event -Queen Shake hands with ex-IRA chief

Queen Elizabeth –II and former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuiness who is now the Deputy First Minister of the British controlled – Northern Ireland shook hands when they met behind the closed doors in a room at the Belfast’s Lyric Theater that coincided with the event celebrating the art in the Republic and the Northern Ireland.

This rare peaceful gesture symbolized Northern Ireland’s progress in achieving reconciliation after 14 years, when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) ended its war against the Britain’s claim to the province and resulting in one of the last big milestone in peace process. This event brought into fore reminisces of the assassination of Lord Mountbatten – the Queen’s cousin-some thirty three years back by the IRA.

Some scattered opposition to this meeting was heard from the dissident Irish militants and from some of the IRA’s victims but, all in all the vast majority of the provinces’ politicians backed this meeting. Taking into account the rudimentary sensibilities of this event, no live footage or sound was permitted to be broadcast. Barricades were erected on all the roads surrounding the theater and police warned the residents to stay inside their homes.

The meeting was organized by the Irish Charity Cooperation, Ireland that works to bring the divided communities together. The Charity CEO – Mr. Peter Sheridan described the hand shake gesture as an event that would make people realize that “we are in life beyond conflict”. The irony is that McGuiness’ Irish nationalist party – Sinn Fein- earlier refused to meet or have contact with any one of the British royals until Wednesday. The leaders of Sinn Fein were criticized last year for boycotting the queen’s first ever state visit to the Republic of Ireland, an event that was widely celebrated demonstrating a strong Irish desire to have a cordial relationship with Britain.

The queen arrived in Belfast on Wednesday, as part of the U.K wide celebrations on the queens’ 60th year of ascending the throne. Later in the day, she was scheduled to see the city’s new Titanic exhibition and attend the open air party that involved more than twenty thousand locals at Stormont – the hilltop base of the Northern Ireland’s power sharing government.

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