Queen's Irish trip ends 'years of division': Irish PM

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Ireland next month will symbolise an "end to years of division", Irish leader Enda Kenny said Monday as he met with British counterpart David Cameron in London.

Kenny did not reveal whether the queen would apologise for the 1920 massacre of 14 Gaelic football fans by British troops, but said she would visit "some very sensitive places", including Croke Park, where the killings took place.

"It is symbolic of the end to years of division and the start of a brand-new relationship," Kenny told Tuesday's London Times newspaper.

Kenny cited the silence which greeted British national anthem "God Save the Queen" when it was played before a rugby game between England and Ireland at Croke Park two years ago as evidence that the two nations had "grown up".

The queen will make the visit on May 17-20 in the first state visit by a British monarch since the republic gained independence in 1922.

She will be accompanied by her husband Prince Philip for a visit which will be surrounded by tight security following the murder of a policeman in neighbouring Northern Ireland this 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.

The last visit to Ireland by a reigning British monarch was by the 84-year-old queen's grandfather, George V, in 1911, a decade before the Republic of Ireland won independence from Britain.

The visit to Ireland will take place three weeks after the queen's grandson William marries Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

© 2011 AFP

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