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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 17:55 GMT
Prince speaks of Irish 'suffering'
Prince Charles and Daniel O'Donnell
The prince presented Daniel O'Donnell with an MBE
The Prince of Wales has spoken of "the long history of suffering" of the Irish people on the final day of his official visit to the Republic of Ireland.

The prince made the remarks at the opening of the Glencree peace and reconciliation centre in County Wicklow.

It was his final engagement during the two-day visit, which was cut short to enable him attend the funeral of Princess Margaret at Windsor Castle.

He said the reconciliation project symbolised the "quiet but strong places of communities and hearts that never let the dream of peace die".

Prince Charles and Mary McAleese
The prince met the Irish President, Mary McAleese

He also said that Britain and Ireland should not be prisoners of the past and talked about the conflict in Northern Ireland and the pain and resentment it has caused.

It had been thought the prince would cancel the visit after the death of his aunt.

But officials said the fact it did go ahead showed the importance the prince put on the trip.

It was widely believed the second official visit by Prince Charles to the republic was set to pave the way for Queen Elizabeth's first visit since partition.

On Thursday, Prince Charles hosted a special awards ceremony in Dublin, where singer Daniel O'Donnell received an honorary MBE.

Citing his services to music and his fans, the award also recognised the singer's work for a Romanian orphans' charity.

Earlier, Prince Charles met the Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern and was the star attraction when he strolled through the streets of Dublin.

Irish President Mary McAleese welcomed the heir to the throne at her official residence in Dublin's Phoenix Park for lunch.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Julie O'Connor reports from County Wicklow:
"The prince spoke of the pain and suffering people had endured"
See also:

14 Feb 02 | Europe
Paving the way for the Queen
30 Oct 01 | Arts
Royal opening for Tate Britain
16 Jul 98 | South Asia
Prince's art helps child prostitutes
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