Michelle O'Neill attending the coronation of Britain's King Charles III 'confirms and accepts' the monarch's position over Northern Ireland.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín was speaking as the Sinn Féin deputy leader has said she will attend the event in London on May 6th.
Ms O'Neill, who is First Minister (Designate) of Northern Ireland, said she recognises "there are many people on our island for whom the coronation is a hugely important occasion."
I have accepted an invitation to attend the coronation of King Charles lll.
We are living in a time of great change. A time to respect our differing and equally legitimate aspirations, and focus on the opportunities the next decade will bring.
I am an Irish Republican. I also…
— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) April 26, 2023
President Michael D Higgins will also attend the coronation.
Deputy Tóibín told The Hard Shoulder he believes she is making a mistake.
"I think Sinn Féin are wrong in attending the King of England's coronation," he said.
"Aontú believe in the Irish Republic, we believe in Irish independence north and south and we believe in self-determination.
"The last six years, with the whole Brexit mess, has shown how illogical it is for London to still control any part of Ireland".
'Asking unionists to attend 1916 commemoration'
Deputy Tóibín said this is akin to unionists attending events to mark 1916.
"What Sinn Féin is doing here is not a million miles away from taking the oath of allegiance [and] taking seats in Westminster," he said.
"Officially Sinn Féin will be attending a coronation of the King of Great Britain and the North of Ireland.
"In attending it confirms it and accepts it; unless Michelle's going to be crossing her toes and her fingers during the event.
"The corollary to what Michelle is doing is asking unionists to attend the 1916 commemoration.
"They don't have to do that to be our friends and be able to work with us on building a united Ireland".
Deputy Tóibín said it will likely be King Charles who gives the go-ahead to the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill.
"I think that we have an asymmetrical relationship with Britain, it's not a normal relationship," he said.
"For example, the Legacy Bill is going through the British parliament at the moment... that Legacy Bill gives British military personnel an amnesty for murder in Ireland, north and south.
"It's a horrendous bill.
"In many ways, Britain is leaving behind what it means to be a liberal democracy in terms of justice and truth.
"Yet King Charles is going to be the person who gives that bill royal ascent in a number of months".
Deputy Tóibín said Ms O'Neill is not attending the event as Northern Ireland's First Minister.
"Michelle is going to be going to a conation to a king who claims jurisdiction over her country, who claims Michelle as a subject," he said.
"She's not going as the First Minister, she's simply going as Sinn Féin deputy leader," he added.
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