GERRY Adams made history in Galway today when he met with a member of the British royal family for the first time – and shook his hand.
The Sinn Féin leader met with Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, this afternoon at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), where the Prince made his first official speech of the state visit.
The four-day visit marks the first time that Sinn Féin’s leadership has met with a member of the royal family in the Republic of Ireland – after the party failed to send a representative to the state banquet to welcome Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the country in 2011.
Despite this, Deputy Adams’ party colleague Martin McGuinness met with the Queen in Belfast the following year, which saw another historic handshake take place.
Speaking at the reception for the Prince and the Duchess at NUIG today, Tánaiste Joan Burton compared the university’s international reputation with the relations between the two countries.
“It has forged particularly strong links – strong bonds – with many British partners and students through the sharing of ideas and scholarship,” she said.
“And that partnership and friendship is a microcosm of today’s relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom.”
The Duchess is to spend the remainder of the afternoon visiting a number of locations in Galway city, while the Prince of Wales will travel to the Burren and Marine Institute in Co. Clare.