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Queen remembers victims during historic Ireland visit

18 May 2011 No Comment

QUEEN Elizabeth II laid a wreath on Tuesday to remember the victims of Ireland’s struggle for independence from Britain in a landmark gesture on the first visit of a British monarch to the Irish Republic.

The 85-year-old began her historic four-day trip surrounded by Ireland’s biggest ever security operation as the discovery of a bomb near Dublin underscored the lingering threat from dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

Wearing white, the queen stood in silence alongside Irish President Mary McAleese during the wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.

But the sombre atmosphere contrasted with the rowdy scenes outside where several hundred republican protesters, kept hundreds of metres away, demonstrated against the visit and torched a British flag.

Queen Elizabeth is the first British sovereign to visit Ireland since it won independence from Britain in 1922, and the last since George V, the queen’s grandfather, in 1911. The visit has been hailed as a sign of the progress made in Anglo-Irish relations after the hard-won peace in British-ruled Northern Ireland.

‘The visit of Queen Elizabeth marks that turning point where we move on from the pages of history to working on a close relationship with two sovereign states,’ Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore told reporters.

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