Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Prince Charles in Northern Ireland on two-day visit

Prince Charles is visiting Northern Ireland. Credit: PA

The Prince of Wales is in Northern Ireland on a two-day visit.

Prince Charles toured the Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church in the first of his appointments on Tuesday.

The neo-Gothic building, which has served as a gateway to north Belfast since 1875, is the subject of a major regeneration project.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Charles attended a community event at the church to showcase the diversity of civic and cultural life in this part of the city.

He met a number of local politicians including Sinn Fein's former culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin, and Gerry Kelly MLA.

The Prince of Wales shook hands with Mr Kelly, who escaped from the Maze Prison while serving a jail sentence for the 1973 Old Bailey bombing.

Charles has spoken in the past about reconciliation in Ireland and has previously met Gerry Adams, offering condolences on the death of former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

Charles shook hands with Gerry Kelly. Credit: UTV

In 2015 the heir to the throne visited nearby St Patrick's Catholic Church which was at the heart of disputes involving loyalist band parades.

He has often touched on the theme of reconciliation during recent visits to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church is hoping to provide a focus and hub for many community activities while work continues towards the building's full regeneration.

It will then become a permanent home for the Ulster Orchestra.

After the handshake, Mr Kelly said he hoped to build on the conciliatory "outreach" gesture in the time ahead and urged unionists to reciprocate.

"Republicanism is built on 'interculture', especially north Belfast," he said.

"We understand that in this part of Ireland we have people who are British and see themselves as British, and this is part of their culture as well.

"I would hope that there would be reciprocation, I am not demanding that, that is not why I came. If we can build on this, I don't want to exaggerate this as if it is a huge thing.

"I want them (unionists) to understand that that is a part of outreach, it is not the only bit of outreach I have done, and in north Belfast there is outreach all the time, it does not get talked about at all."

Prince Charles tours Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church. Credit: UTV

Later on Tuesday, the Prince of Wales visited Ulster University in Coleraine to help celebrate its 50th anniversary.

He met with Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Harry Gregg.

The 85-year-old, who survived the 1958 Munich Air disaster, said he treated Prince Charles "just like any other human".

Harry Gregg said: "To me, he's royalty, but he's a human being like you and I, and I think he appreciates that, I don't think he expects me to bow and curtsy and do all that, and to me that's very important."

On Wednesday, Charles will visit Omagh Hospital and the town of Omagh to meet those affected by the Real IRA bomb which killed 29 in 1998.

At the request of the British Government, Charles and Camilla will travel to the south of the Republic of Ireland for two days later this week.

Their itinerary includes stops in counties Cork and Kerry.