Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Most people in Republic ‘would welcome Queen’

A majority of people in the Republic would be in favour of a State visit by the Queen, according to the latest opinion poll.

Speculation has mounted over a possible trip to the Republic by the Queen since an invitation was extended during the summer by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Six out of 10 people say they would extend a welcome to the Queen, according to a TV3/Millward Brown opinion poll.

The survey earlier this week of 1,000 adults found a sizeable minority, at 26%, would be against such a visit. Yet a majority of those quizzed across all the age demographics and voter groups, with the exclusion of Sinn Fein supporters, would welcome her. Around 14% of those questioned were undecided on the matter.

Acceptance of the invitation extended by Mr Cowen following a summer meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron would mean the first visit to the Republic by a reigning British monarch since independence.

Mr Cowen said he believed there were “no obstacles” in the way of such a trip. He also said he hoped it would take place before President Mary McAleese's term in office comes to an end in November 2011.

In the past factors such as the violence over the Troubles had ruled out such a visit over security fears.

However, following his meeting in June, Mr Cowen emphasised the “transformation of the relationship” between the two countries in recent years. He said that “normal courtesies” such as the visits of heads of state should now be able to happen due to the good relations between the countries.

There has been interaction between the Queen and President McAleese, although it has never taken place in the official capacity of a formal State visit.

Next year would mark the centenary of the last visit to southern Ireland by a British monarch upon the visit of the Queen's grandfather, King George V.

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