Queen 'to make first visit to Ireland'

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Irish president Mary McAleese is reported to be hopeful the first state visit would take place during her term in office, which ends next year.

It would be the first time a British monarch has set foot in the Irish Republic.

A visit has been mooted for several years as the Ulster peace process brings closer ties between London and Dublin, lowering the hurdles.

Such an event would have been inconceivable prior to the IRA pledging to hand over its weapons; the organisation murdered the Queen’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten, and 18 British soldiers in two separate attacks on the same day in August 1979.

Buckingham Palace said it “never commented on possible future state visits”, and a source added that the palace was not aware of plans for a trip to Ireland....

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