Responding to the announcement by Sinn Féin yesterday (April 8), Cllr Minihan said:
“We welcome the fact that Sinn Féin have responded positively to the statement made by our party Chairperson Brian Leeson on March 14th, when he called on Sinn Féin to 'do the right thing' in relation to protesting against the Windsor visit next month. That call was made in response to comments from Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, who earlier that day had told the Belfast Telegraph that it would be a 'huge mistake' for there to be protests against the Windsor visit.
“Sinn Fein’s change of position in relation to the issue of protests against the Windsor visit is reminiscent of the sequence of events leading up to the Royal Irish Regiment march through Belfast in November 2008. On that occasion Sinn Féin also initially refused to organise a protest but later reversed their position as the level of popular opposition to the RIR march became clear.
Cllr Minihan added: “While we welcome Sinn Féin’s decision to organise protests we also urge them to ensure that their protests are meaningful and not just token measures. Sinn Féin needs to use its considerable resources and influence to mobilise large numbers of party members and supporters in active opposition to this visit. Anything less will be rightly seen as opportunistic posturing. You are either opposed to this visit or you aren’t.
“Those who are opposed to this visit need to build the largest, loudest and most colourful protests possible at the locations where the Windsor’s are actually visiting. The objective of the protest is to show the Windsor’s and their apologists in Ireland that the British royal family are not welcome in this country for as long as Britain continues to occupy the Six Counties. Holding protests at other locations will be completely meaningless and serve only to draw attention away from where it needs to be focused.
“If Sinn Féin choose to organise token protests as opposed to meaningful ones we are encouraging their members and supporters to join the éirígí protests which will be happening at a number of locations that the so-called British queen will be visiting.”