Sinn Fein pressed over ‘lack of agreement’ on marking Queen’s platinum jubilee

First Minister Paul Givan said he was disappointed by the party’s stance.

The Queen
The Queen

Northern Ireland’s First Minister has expressed disappointment over a lack of agreement with Sinn Fein on marking the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

The row emerged following an Assembly question by Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton, on what plans the Executive Office has to mark the jubilee next February.

Paul Givan of the DUP, who shares the joint top office with Sinn Fein deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, said the Executive Office had been “unable to reach an agreed response” to the question.

Paul Givan
First Minister Paul Givan (Liam McBurney/PA)

He described the jubilee as a “remarkable achievement”, adding that he was sure “many throughout Northern Ireland are looking forward to witnessing this historic and unprecedented event”.

DUP MLA Diane Dodds said people will be “rightfully appalled” that the Executive Office has not been able to agree “such a simple question as to how we would celebrate with Her Majesty the remarkable years on the throne”.

“This is just another one of those Sinn Fein tactics which causes great hurt and harm within the community in general in Northern Ireland,” she said.

Mr Givan said he was disappointed by the lack of agreement.

“That’s for others to explain, I think it is right that we would be marking this occasion,” he said.

“Many people talk about respect and equality, celebrating diversity. This will be a test for Sinn Fein, how will they facilitate those that want to mark this occasion to be able to do that.”

Mr Givan said he hoped the matter would not be “blocked”, like attempts to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland in the grounds of the Stormont estate.

“I hope that we’re not going to be in a position, after some good work by those in Sinn Fein who did reach out and meet with members of the royal family, now retrenching and taking a backward step,” he said.

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