Irish president slams dissident republicans

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President Mary McAleese condemned dissident republicans Tuesday who oppose the historic first visit to the Irish Republic by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II later this month.

She described dissident groups as "the tail end of a very old, tired, failed culture of trying to resolve political problems through paramilitarism".

McAleese told RTE state radio it will be the first time in a century that a British monarch has "set foot on the soil" of the republic.

"For me it is a moment of huge achievement for the Irish people, for those who put their hearts and souls behind the peace process. It will be a moment of celebration.

"Regrettably the dissidents pose not just a threat to that visit, they pose a threat more generally."

McAleese said it was evident to 99.99 percent of the people on the island of Ireland that paramilitarism doesn't bring political resolution.

Political dialogue resolved differences, "not bullying".

The queen will be accompanied by her husband Prince Philip for the May 17-20 state visit, the first by a British monarch since the republic gained independence in 1922.

The visit will be surrounded by tight security following the murder of a policeman in British-ruled Northern Ireland last month.

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

© 2011 AFP

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