Ulster Unionist MLA Michael Copeland has urged the focus of the Queen’s visit to be on the celebrations at Stormont and Enniskillen rather than a handshake.
The East Belfast representative said:
“The Queen’s visit has provided a most welcome opportunity for the people of Northern Ireland to participate in the Jubilee celebrations.
I would strongly contend that the media focus of today should be on the celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and her sixty years of service to this Nation.
That is the reason why 20,000 of Her Majesty’s loyal subjects attended Stormont today and why thousands more were present in Enniskillen yesterday.
With regard to handshakes, and gestures, Her Majesty the Queen demonstrated in her visit to the Republic of Ireland last year that she is way ahead of the rest. Republicans are simply playing catch up. Today’s handshake is a long overdue sign of respect to our Head of State.
In the realm of politics, with the Constitutional position of Northern Ireland settled, it is now time to get on with the serious busines sof providing hospitals, schools and jobs.”