Northern Ireland

Stormont Queen's party tickets gone within six minutes

Ten thousand free tickets for a party at Stormont to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee have been snapped up.

The tickets were available from 09:00 BST on Tuesday, but were gone within six minutes.

The event will take place in the grounds of the Stormont Estate next Wednesday.

A further 10,000 people are expected to attend as a result of tickets given out to invited guests.

These include youth organisations, the emergency services, government departments, local councils, health trusts, ex-service associations as well as education and library boards.

Political parties and Independents were offered four tickets per assembly member.

The Northern Ireland Office said the tickets released to the public on Tuesday were limited to five per person to allow as many families as possible to attend.

However, they are examining with the Stormont Estate authorities and the PSNI whether there is scope for any additional allocation of tickets.

Meanwhile, the tickets have been for sale on online auction sites. One site had four tickets for £2,500.

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

There has been much speculation about whether Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein will meet the Queen during her visit to Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein has repeatedly said the matter will be decided by its ard comhairle (party executive).

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