Ard Comhairle to sign off details of the forthcoming ‘Martin meets Elizabeth’ gig…

One of the stories that’s been hanging in the air for the last few weeks has been will Martin McGuinness meet the Queen, or won’t he? Well, it seems he will. Though the i’s and the t’s remain to be dotted and/or crossed.

In recent weeks Slugger understands that the leadership within Sinn Fein have deployed some very senior members ‘of the Movement’ in selling ‘the deal’ to their own activists.

Slugger also understands that the party’s Ard Comhairle (high council) will consider a concrete proposal for the deputy First Minster to meet with the British Sovereign next Monday or Tuesday, tomorrow morning.

Does it really matter, now that Queen Elizabeth has been welcomed by all parties in the Republic, along with its own political sovereign in the form of President McAleese?

Indeed, most Northern Irish unionists seem to have been highly reassured by the popular reception given the British Queen on her visit to the Republic last year.

Yet as one Republican told Slugger..

A lot of people have suffered a great deal in opposing everything she represents. In the north there’s been a history and a tradition of sacrifice. And there is a risk of trouble in the ranks.

We don’t have any precise details of the location (or choreography) of the meeting. But in principle, if there is a handshake it’s unlikely to be photographed.

And it is unlikely to be at Hillsborough but rather in a venue associated associated with some all Ireland identity.

The news, when/if it eventually arrives, will surely just be one more welcome step on the journey towards the normalisation of relations on these island.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty