Northern Ireland

NI Assembly in tribute to Queen's 60-year reign

Some Northern Ireland Assembly members have paid tribute to the Queen as she marks the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

First Minister Peter Robinson

"The Queen's public life spanned that of the careers of 12 prime ministers in the UK and 140 prime ministers in the Commonwealth realms.

In Northern Ireland, it has included six prime ministers, three first ministers, three deputy first ministers and 17 secretaries of state. I am convinced that everyone in Northern Ireland will respect the significant role played by Her Majesty the Queen over such a long period of time, will recognise the many achievements that she has (made) and, I'm sure, for people in this House, not least her recent visit to the Republic of Ireland and the sealing of better relationships between our two countries.

For us in Northern Ireland not only does she perform the important task of giving Royal Assent to all of the legislation that we pass, but we very much welcome her visits here and and we look forward as part of her programme during this year that she will visit Northern Ireland."

Tom Elliott, UUP leader

"I welcome the opportunity to congratulate the Queen. The Queen has been a subject of the UK and of the Commonwealth that we all should be proud of, that we should be proud to look up to and respect.

I believe the Queen's visit to the Republic of Ireland last year signified new relationships - right throughout the world - for two nations so close geographically but, maybe, so far apart in other circumstances.

It may actually encourage the Republic of Ireland to look at their possibilities to rejoin the Commonwealth yet again.

I look forward to the Queen visiting Northern Ireland some time later this year. She will be made most welcome by citizens of Northern Ireland."

Alisdair McDonnell, SDLP leader

"On my own behalf and on behalf of my party and on behalf of the non-violent republican tradition I represent, I wish to acknowledge and respect the achievement of the Queen, and acknowledge and respect all of those who value her monarchy in this house and across the country.

There are a large number of people in Northern Ireland who value the link with Britain, and who value the monarchy and who value the contribution of Queen Elizabeth II. We not only acknowledge that, we fully respect it.

For me the visit of the Queen to Dublin last year... was another important step forward in process of reconciliation, in the process of a better and deeper understanding, going forward between all the people of these islands."

David Ford, Alliance leader

"The example which the Queen has set, the way she has led country and the Commonwealth for 60 years is a remarkable example of public service and one which is widely respected.

For most people in the United Kingdom she has been regarded as the key symbol of the unity of the country and focus for that positive warmer feeling. Despite what politicians may do, she has remained a rock of stability.

(During) her visit to Ireland last year, the symbolism of the wreath-laying both in the Garden of Remembrance and Island Bridge, the speech that she made in Dublin Castle and then in her personal engagement with the people of Cork; all showed very different relationships between people of the UK and people of Ireland.

The Queen demonstrated a strong commitment to building that reconciliation. She has given us a very strong lead."

Jim Allister, TUV

"The 6 February 1952 had its dark side as it marked the passing of King George VI, but in his daughter there blossomed a monarch who, throughout times of great change... has demonstrated a steady touch and a steady hand, through which many and all of us have benefited.

It is right and proper this assembly should pause to mark this momentous occasion.

The question now is, 'Does it end here?' What part does this devolved assembly now play in the upcoming months of celebration of the Diamond Jubilee? Will it be a fulsome, magnanimous part, or will it be a part spoiled by a churlish, vindictive republican veto? And perhaps the stony and churlish silence we've seen this morning on the Sinn Fein benches?"

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