Gerry Adams and the Queen

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has praised the Queen of England after she expressed ‘sincere sympathy’ to all those affected by the Troubles in Northern Ireland and Ireland’s 800 year fight for freedom.

Adams declined all invitations to events during the Queen’s four day visit to Ireland but he did take note of her keynote speech at Wednesday night’s State banquet in Dublin Castle.

In the course of her visit, the first by a British monarch in the history of the Republic, the Queen laid a wreath in honor of the leaders of the 1916 Rising in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance.

She also visited Croke Park, scene of the original Bloody Sunday massacre when the Black and Tans killed 14 players and fans at a GAA match in 1920.

Speaking to an audience which included President Mary McAleese at the Dublin Castle banquet, the Queen offered her ‘sincere thoughts and deep sympathy” to the victims of Ireland and the UK’s troubled past.

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She added: “We can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.”
Adams has publicly welcomed the comments as the Queen’s four day tour winds down with visits to the Rock of Cashel and Cork’s English Market on Friday.

“I hope some good will come from this visit and I particularly was taken by Queen Elizabeth’s sincere expression of sympathy to all those who had suffered in the course of the conflict,” said Adams, recently elected to the Irish parliament.

“If there is to be more benefit out of this, it will be if it moves beyond these important gestures and remarks.

“It’s another step in the journey. It was the conditions created by the peace process which allowed this to happen.

“It’s a page in a book - and we need to write the next page and the next page and keep moving the process on.”

The Queen offered no apology for the actions of Royal forces in Ireland over the years but Adams admitted: “I never expected that.”