Kenny supports plan for Queen visit
A widely-anticipated trip by Britain's Queen Elizabeth to Ireland has been supported by the politician likely to become the country's next leader.
Enda Kenny, head of the Fine Gael party, said a royal visit would be "very warmly received" by a majority of people in the republic.
There has been renewed speculation in the Irish press recently about the possibility of a three-day trip by the British monarch sometime in May.
Mr Kenny told the BBC: "I actually think that this visit of the Queen would be very warmly received by the vast, vast majority of the Irish people - a declaration, a signature event, of the growing up of two countries and two peoples.
"If the Queen does decide to visit, and I know that negotiations are going on there, I expect she will be exceptionally warmly received by people here in Ireland, and (it) may be long overdue."
Mr Kenny's party is well ahead in the polls and with a general election vote being held later this month is likely to become the next prime minister.
George V was the last British monarch to visit Ireland and he travelled to the nation in 1911.
Opponents to any possible visit remain, with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams believing a trip is "premature and too soon".