When it comes to Queen’s and Jubilee’s, one doesn’t think about Sinn Fein as natural bedfellows. The republican party is ideologically opposed to the principle of hereditary succession.
However in a moment, which feels rare in recent times, of reconciliation Mary Lou McDonald built upon the decision by previous party President Martin McGuinness to send warm words to the monarch on her 70th year on the throne.
Some might question the seriousness of this kind of reconciliation, the notion that every day unionists or pro-union voters hang a portrait of the queen in the dining room or toast her majesty at dinner is from a different era. But at least this can be recognised as a kind gesture, that won’t cost the party at all in terms of public image.
The only recent reciprocation one could point to within unionism is the decision by Arlene Foster to attend a GAA match which was two DUP leaders ago. However unionists will point to things like the understated partition centenary and the Armagh ecumenical service as examples of reconciliation they perhaps feel they never get credit for in the media.
Mary Lou, from the BBC:
“Can I also extend to the British Queen a word of congratulations because 70 years is quite some record,” said the Sinn Féin president.
“That’s what you call a lifetime of service.”
The Sinn Féin president said it was important to be “respectful of the allegiances, sensitivities and the identity of our citizens who are British”.
“For those who will celebrate the jubilee, can I wish them well and a good jubilee.
“And for those of us who won’t… I believe that we are now certainly big enough, bold enough, generous enough to acknowledge the identity of others,” she added.
The BBC thought it prudent to point out this little u-turn from our Finance minister, at SF Dublin’s request?
The Department of Finance has offered to help with the tree-planting at Stormont, despite its minister, Conor Murphy, refusing a previous request to approve the planting.