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Gardaí and security outside the press centre at Dublin Castle
Gardaí and security outside the press centre at Dublin Castle
Image: Photocall Ireland!

Bombs scares and controlled explosion herald the Queen's historic visit to Ireland

It’s all systems go for Queen Elizabeth II’s first ever trip to the Republic. Enda Kenny says he hopes protesters don’t embarass the country as the eyes of the world’s media turn on Ireland.
May 17th 2011, 8:36 AM 1,741 9

Updated 9.50am

A MASSIVE SECURITY operation is underway this morning as Queen Elizabeth II begins her first state visit to the Republic of Ireland.

The Queen will spend four days in Ireland, visiting Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork. After landing at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel at around midday today, she’ll travel to the Phoenix Park where she’ll meet with President Mary McAleese and take part in a tree planting ceremony. From there the Queen will attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance before a visit to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin.

The eyes of the world’s media are on Dublin today as the historic visit gets underway. The Deparment of Foreign Affairs says that 1,200 journalists have been accredited to cover the Queen’s trip, and that 450 of these are from outside Ireland. The Irish Times reports that the BBC, Sky News, CNN are all providing coverage of the visit, along with TV stations from China and Russia.

Controlled explosion

Strict traffic measures are in place as part of the security operation, with many roads in Dublin City Centre already closed to traffic this morning. A rolling system of road closures and restrictions will be in place along the various routes of the Queen’s visit over the next four days. A number of security alerts have arisen in advance of her arrival. This morning a suspect package was found at near the Blackhorse Luas stop in Inchicore, but was later declared a hoax.The Red Line was not running between the Red Cow and Heuston for a time as a result, but services are now back to normal. Last night a viable explosive device was made safe during a controlled explosion on a bus in Maynooth in County Kildare, as reported here by the New York Times, while a suspect package in Summerhill in Dublin was declared a hoax. A bomb threat connected to the visit was also investigated in London yesterday.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told RTE that people are entitled to express their views and protest against the visit, but that he hopes they will not embarass the country.

Tomorrow the Queen’s itinerary will include visits to the Guinness Storehouse, The Irish War Memorial Garden, Croke Park and Dublin Castle, meaning the security measures around the city will continue. On Thursday she’ll travel to Kildare to visit the Irish National Stud, and then on Friday she’ll travel to the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary before visit the English Market and the Tyndall Institute in Cork. The Benhaffaf twins, who were separated at Great Ormond Street hospital last year after being born conjoined in Cork will be among the invited guests at the Tyndall Institute.

Former British Prime Minister John Major has said that the Queen’s visit is a “pivotal event” in the relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, reports the BBC. Current Prime Minister David Cameron, who will also visit Ireland this week, says the Queen’s trip is a “huge step forward” in healing the division which has existed between the two countries.

Read: Gerry Adams suggests an alternative celebration for the Queen’s visit>

Read: Diversions, shutdowns and traffic restrictions: How the royal visit will affect us>

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Emer McLysaght

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