Queen Elizabeth Visits Northern Ireland
Crowds greet the Queen as she begins her Northern Ireland visit. Her majesty attends a thanksgiving service in bomb-hit town of Enniskillen. Britain's Queen Elizabeth was greeted by cheering crowds in the Northern Irish town of Enniskillen on Tuesday. Eleven people were killed there by an IRA bomb at a memorial service in 1987. Following the service at the town's St Macartin's Church of Ireland Cathedral, she met members of the Catholic community at the nearby St Michael's. During her two-day trip the queen will meet former IRA commander and current deputy first minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness for the first time. The queen has never met a senior figure in the now-defunct IRA, which killed her cousin Lord Mountbatten in 1979, or its political wing Sinn Fein.
And a meeting would be a significant landmark in the peace process. The IRA ended its 30-year armed campaign against British rule in 1998, but small splinter groups have continued to launch attacks against British targets, prompting security concerns that have prevented the queen from publicly announcing trips to the province in advance.
In a sign of a softening of the party's attitude to the royal family, Sinn Fein last week said it would not block the Northern Ireland government from giving the queen a present to mark the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. Last year, the party refused to support sending a gift for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.Courtesy-NTDTV