At a talk in parliament last night the Sinn Fein for West Tyrone Pat Doherty reacted to the news that The Queen may be about to visit Ireland for the first time. If she were to visit she would become the first British Monarch to go to Dublin since Irish Independence in 1922. Doherty, unsurprisingly perhaps, was fiercely opposed to the visit.
“I think it would be a disaster. We are a million miles away from having reached that point [where it is acceptable]. The Irish government has got itself into a small hole on this issue,” he said.
Mr Doherty also said that he thought recent trends made it clear that Sinn Fein was growing in both Northern and Southern Ireland and that he expected significant gains at the elections in the South, to be held in three weeks.
“We should more than double our representation from 5 seats not to between 10 and 12,” he said.
Mr Doherty also said that he felt there is “the potential” for a left-wing alliance government in the South which would block Ireland’s two biggest parties- Fianna Fail and Fine Gael – gaining power. Also in the room were prominent left-wing Labour MPs Diane Abbott and John McDonell.