A Sinn Féin mayor who refused to meet Prince Charles in Londonderry yesterday has been accused of “retreating to backwoods republicanism”.
Councillor Maolíosa McHugh snubbed the Prince of Wales despite both his party colleagues Gerry Adams and the late Martin McGuinness having met and shaken hands with the heir to the throne in 2015.
The Duke of Cornwall visited Londonderry yesterday to meet with people affected by severe flooding in August.
In a statement, Mayor McHugh put his snub down to “unresolved sensitivities” surrounding Bloody Sunday.
“Today’s visit to Derry by Prince Charles is difficult for many families in the city given his ongoing role as Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment,” he said.
The Sinn Fein man added: “I believe that meeting him in Derry is premature given the ongoing and unresolved sensitivities around the legacy of the massacre.”
DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton, however, said the snub was an example of “republican double standards”.
He added: “Sinn Fein are the first to criticise anyone who dares bring up the activities of the Provisional IRA in Londonderry or anywhere else. Indeed, they regularly lambast anyone who cannot forget their role in a campaign of terrorism which of course included the murder of two police officers just before Bloody Sunday.”
His party colleague, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said: “We hear a great deal from republicans about respect and criticisms of unionism for not reaching out to recognise other cultures and traditions. It is clear however that Maoliosa McHugh does not believe such responsibilities extend to him.”
Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion wasn’t present during the Royal visit either.
A spokesman for Sinn Fein said the MP had been attending a prior engagement at an addiction taskforce event in Londonderry.