Northern Ireland

10,000 tickets available for Jubilee event at Stormont

The Queen
Image caption A party to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee is being held within the grounds of Stormont on 27 June

Ten thousand free tickets will be available to the public for a party to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee later this month.

The event will take place in the grounds of the Stormont estate on 27 June, during a two-day visit to Northern Ireland by the Queen.

The tickets will be made available to the public through Ticketmaster from 09:00 BST on Tuesday 19 June.

The Northern Ireland Office advised people to use the Ticketmaster website.

It said phonelines "will be extremely busy".

A further 10,000 people are expected to come as a result of tickets given out to youth organisations, the emergency services, government departments, local councils, health trusts, ex-service associations as well as education and library boards.

Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, including the First Minister Peter Robinson, are expected to attend the event.

Earlier Secretary of State Owen Paterson said all parties, including Sinn Fein, had been aware of the "broad outline" of plans for the Queen's visit to Northern Ireland before they were announced.

Sinn Fein had said it was "insensitive" of the Northern Ireland Office to announce plans for a huge Diamond Jubilee party at Stormont on 27 June without consulting them first.

Mr Paterson refused to be drawn on whether Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness should meet the Queen during her visit.

The deputy first minister said on Monday it would be a "huge ask" for any Irish republican to meet the Queen.

"As we speak, we do not have a do-able proposition in relation to this," he said.

The Northern Ireland Office announcement last Friday led to intense speculation about Sinn Fein's role in any such event.

Mr McGuinness was critical of the NIO, arguing that they should have left the matter to the Northern Ireland Executive.

He pointed out that DUP First Minister Peter Robinson's wish to send a gift to the Queen on behalf of Northern Ireland on the occasion of her Jubilee had been handled in a sensitive and diplomatic way.

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