Historic Handshake for Hope

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A handshake between people in conflict carries powerful symbolism and the one that took place in Northern Ireland today between The Queen Elizabeth II and former IRA commander Martin Mc Guinness was one that certainly makes history.

Two people that previously would have considered any face to face meeting out of the question and would have shrunk from touch have today made a huge gesture of reconciliation.

It inspires hope to continue the ongoing work to build more bridges to help seal the gulf between opposing communities and help the continuing healing of suffering and hatreds of the past.
Symbols matter and this was a substantial one.
Yesterday, the Queen made her first visit to a Catholic church in Northern Ireland  in her 60 year reign where she met with IRA bombing victims in a community that suffered one of the most notorious IRA attacks on Remembrance Day 25 years ago when bombing killed 11 people and injured 63 others.

The Queen joined Catholic and Protestant leaders  at a service of thanksgiving in the Anglican St Macartin's Cathedral, then crossed the road to St Michael's Roman Catholic church.

 Related articles
  • Guardian newspaper report here 
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