Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking this afternoon outside the Dail said:
“I want to welcome today’s historic meeting in Belfast between the President of Ireland, the Queen of England, First and Deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.
It brings our journey of relationship building within this island and between these islands onto a new plane.
“I would to think we will build upon that. When Queen Elizabeth visited here and made the positive remarks that she did, and visited the Garden of Remembrance, I said at that time that it needed to be built upon.
“That’s what Sinn Féin is trying to do in terms of this engagement but there are issues that have not been brought to a conclusion, specifically the issue of the legacy of the conflict. Both governments have a big role to play in that.
“I know that some people in the north – especially in my own home district of Ballymurphy – who are big supporters of the peace process are hurt. Just last week they were told by the British Secretary of State Owen Patterson that they would not have the type of inquiry that they were looking for, the kind of investigation that they wanted, into the deaths of their loved ones by the British Army.
“So, the government in London needs to stop obstructing these matters; and the government here needs to press them to do just that.
“But all in all it’s a good day for Ireland and a good day for the people of these islands.
The significance will be seen in how much we can build upon it.
“I think the vast majority of unionists will be pleased that this happened because they know it’s essentially a real gesture beyond the rhetoric towards their sense of identity and their sense of allegiance.
“Ireland is changing; its changing because of the peace process, it’s changing because of all the revelations of sleaze and scandals and corruption in this state and its changing because of the economic crisis. So people know we deserve a better society and republicans like everyone else who thinks about the future and thinks about Ireland want to be part of shaping that out and the unionists are a very essential part of that equation.” ENDS