British PM to join queen on historic Irish visit

11th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron will make his first official trip to Ireland next week to coincide with a historic state visit by Queen Elizabeth II, his spokesman said Wednesday.

"He is planning to attend" a programme of events arranged for the queen's visit on May 17-20, the spokesman told AFP.

He refused to give further details for security reasons, but it is likely that Cameron will take a low profile during the trip, his first to Ireland since taking office one year ago, to avoid overshadowing the royal event.

The queen's visit with her husband Prince Philip is the first state visit by a British monarch since Ireland gained independence in 1922.

Irish premier Enda Kenny, who visited London for talks with Cameron last month, told reporters in Dublin on Wednesday that the British leader was "very supportive of Ireland".

"We have a very good working relationship in terms of the business and the politics of what we have to do," he said.

"I look forward to meeting him in Government Buildings (the Irish prime minister's office) for a meeting where we will discuss the issues of Europe, the issues between our two countries and we can build on those for the future."

The queen's visit will take place amid tight security following the murder of a policeman in neighbouring Northern Ireland last month.

The royals will be guests of honour at a state dinner at Dublin Castle, which was the seat of power at the time of British colonial rule of Ireland.

They will also visit Croke Park, the home of Gaelic football and the scene of a day of violence in the Irish War of Independence when British soldiers shot dead 14 people in November 1920.

© 2011 AFP

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