Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

McAleese: Queen's visit phenomenal

President Mary McAleese said the Queen visit represents an extraordinary moment in Irish history

The British Queen's visit to the Republic will represent an extraordinary moment in the history of the island, President Mary McAleese said.

Mrs McAleese insisted it was the right moment for the ground-breaking event - the first time a British monarch will visit the south of Ireland for 100 years and the first ever visit to the state since independence.

In an interview with state broadcaster RTE to mark the four-day visit, the President said it had been made possible by the success of the peace process.

"I think it is an extraordinary moment in Irish history," she said.

"A phenomenal sign and signal of the success of the peace process and absolutely the right moment for us to welcome onto Irish soil, Her Majesty the Queen, the Head of State of our immediate next-door neighbours, the people with whom we are forging a new future, a future very, very different from the past, on very different terms from the past and I think that visit will send the message that we are, both jurisdictions, determined to make the future a much, much better place."

Her interview, with RTE's northern editor Tommie Gorman, will be broadcast in a special documentary The Queen And Us on RTE One on Tuesday night. The programme also includes an interview with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Queen arrives in Dublin on Tuesday for a visit that will also take in counties Cork, Kildare and Tipperary.

The royal trip will take in a tour of several historically significant sites in Dublin including Croke Park, the scene of a massacre by British troops, and the Garden of Remembrance, which honours all those who fought for Irish freedom.

The visit will also include events at Trinity College, the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, and the Guinness Storehouse. Cork and Cashel are also on the agenda, along with a private visit to Coolmore - the world-renowned international thoroughbred racehorse stud in Tipperary.

The largest security operation in the history of the state is under way amid fears dissident republicans will seek to disrupt the visit.

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