Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill pulls out of meeting with Prince Charles

Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill pulls out of meeting with Prince Charles

MICHELLE O'NEILL has declined to meet British royal Prince Charles on his visit to Northern Ireland due to his role in the British Army.

Ms O'Neill, the Sinn Féin leader in the north and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, has cited Prince Charles's role as Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment in declining the meeting, RTÉ News reports.

The Parachute Regiment were responsible for Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy Massacre in Northern Ireland during The Troubles- last week, a judge ruled that all 10 victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre, 9 of whom were determined to have been shot by the British Army, were completely innocent.

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, are currently on a two-day trip to Northern Ireland, and the Prince of Wales had been due to meet Michelle O'Neill yesterday evening, however Ms O'Neill confirmed in a statement that she would not meet him on this occasion.

Michelle O’Neill, leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland

"I met Prince Charles on his last visit to the north last September and recently expressed our condolences to him and his family on the death of his father," she said in a statement.

"On this occasion a meeting was not possible."

She added, "The British royals have made a very positive contribution to the development of peace and reconciliation."

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 18: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet historians and staff at Belfast City Hall to hear about the past, present and future of Belfast and learn of the new vision for the City on May 18, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Samir Hussein - Pool / Getty Images)

Ms O'Neill has previously met with Prince Charles three times, most recently in September 2020, where she said afterwards it was important to "engage with everybody".

The British Royal met with First Minister Arlene Foster yesterday evening as part of their two-day tour to commemorate the centenary  of the creation of Northern Ireland; the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited the Titanic shipyard, Belfast City Hall and a national park, as well as engaging with local communities.

The tour continues today.