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Mayor of Londonderry refuses to meet Prince Charles

The Mayor of Londonderry, Maolíosa McHugh, has refused to meet Prince Charles, who is visiting the region today.

Mr McHugh, who is a member of Sinn Féin, refuses to meet the Prince of Wales in protest of 1972’s Bloody Sunday in which 14 people died.

The Mayor says he does not want to meet Prince Charles due to his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment.

It was the British paratroopers who opened fire on a civil rights march in Londonderry in January 1972.

Known as Bloody Sunday, the paratroopers shot 28 unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest march against internment.

Mr McHugh said that meeting the Prince would be “premature”.

In a statement, Mr McHugh said: “As a Sinn Fein elected representative, and Mayor of Derry and Strabane I am fully committed to reconciliation and to reaching out to the unionist community. I also recognise the positive contribution made by members of the British Royal family to the search for reconciliation and the need for greater understanding of the different narratives, which exist here.

“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.

“And while I have supported meetings between Sinn Fein and members of the British Royal family, I believe that meeting him in Derry is premature given the ongoing and unresolved sensitivities around the legacy of the massacre carried out by that Regiment. Therefore, the Deputy Mayor will deputise for me today.”

Bloody Sunday was one of the most significant events of the Northern Ireland Conflict due to the large amount of civilians killed by the army in full view of the public and the media.

Prince Charles was in Derry on Friday to meet victims of severe flooding which occurred in August.

The Prince met residents who were forced out of their homes during the floods in both Derry and around the region.

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