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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 June, 2005, 22:49 GMT 23:49 UK
Queen 'welcome' in Irish Republic
Queen with Irish President Mary McAleese and Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor
The Queen with President McAleese and Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor
Hopes that the Queen will soon make her first state visit to the Republic of Ireland were raised during a meeting with Irish President Mary McAleese.

The pair held private talks in London on Thursday to discuss peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

After the meeting, President McAleese said she would welcome such a visit.

Security fears have ruled out a visit to the Republic by the Queen, but Prince Charles and other royals have made the trip.

After the 15-minute meeting, Mrs McAleese said: "The Irish and British governments are agreed that a visit should take place and the timing is for a decision by them in the light of the successful development of the political process in Northern Ireland over time."

The carefully worded statement indicates a move forward but does not signal an imminent visit.

The Queen and President McAleese met as joint patrons of the peace-building charity Co-operation Ireland which celebrated its 25th anniversary at a dinner in Chelsea.

Other guests included the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain, Irish Senator Fergal Quinn and former Celtic football manager Martin O'Neill.


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