Most Active Stories
- Le Show For The Week Of Mar. 15, 2015
- Peter Sagal Says New Orleans Is The Best — And He'll Show Us A Great Time Thursday Night
- The Irish Have Been Part Of New Orleans From The Beginning
- Argo The Police Dog Forces Carjacking Suspect Hiding Inside Cemetery Tomb To Surrender
- Episode 609: The Curse Of The Black Lotus
Wed June 27, 2012
Sign Of Peace: Queen Elizabeth Shakes Hand Of Former IRA Commander
Something that was "unimaginable a couple of decades ago" happened today in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when Queen Elizabeth II shook the hand of former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk.
As Philip adds:
"McGuinness used to be a senior member of the IRA, the group that killed the queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979. ... The handshake signals times have greatly changed since the end of the conflict, which claimed more than 3,500 lives, though some tensions remain."
McGuinness is now a deputy first minister in Northern Ireland's government. The queen is on a visit to Northern Ireland. McGuinness told the BBC it was "very nice" to meet her. And the BBC adds that according to a spokesman for McGuinness' Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, McGuinness told the queen that their meeting was a "powerful signal that peace-building requires leadership."
The BBC's Ireland correspondent, Mark Simpson, says today's handshake will not be the queen's "favorite moment of her 60-year-reign, but it is certainly one of the most significant."