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Queen Elizabeth II makes historic visit to Ireland

May 17, 2011 - DUBLIN

England's Queen Elizabeth II flies into Dublin on May 17, according to Irish news media, for a controversial visit that makes history as the first royal visit in 100 years. The visit is presented as an overdue normalization of relations between England and the Irish Republic, but critics see it as premature until the island of Ireland is no longer partitioned. Security will be iron clad as protests can be expected. Centuries of Anglo-Irish struggles and a failed 1916 Easter Monday rebellion touched off strife that resulted in independence from the United Kingdom for 26 southern counties in 1922. Six northern counties (Ulster) remained part of the United Kingdom. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), the paramilitary group that fought for the unification of the predominantly Roman Catholic Irish republic with predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland, ceased armed struggle in the 1990s after a peace deal with paramilitary groups fighting to preserve Northern Ireland's union with Britain. A leading critic of the queen's visit is Gerry Adams, the leader of the republicans' political party, Sinn Fein. He called it premature while partition of the island is in place.

England's Queen Elizabeth II flies into Dublin on May 17, according to Irish news media, for a controversial visit that makes history as the first royal visit in 100 years. The visit is presented as an overdue normalization of relations between England and the Irish Republic, but critics see it as premature until the island of Ireland is no longer partitioned. Security will be iron clad as protests can be expected. Centuries of Anglo-Irish struggles and a failed 1916 Easter Monday rebellion touched off strife that resulted in independence from the United Kingdom for 26 southern counties in 1922. Six northern counties (Ulster) remained part of the United Kingdom. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), the paramilitary group that fought for the unification of the predominantly Roman Catholic Irish republic with predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland, ceased armed struggle in the 1990s after a peace deal with paramilitary groups fighting to preserve Northern Ireland's union with Britain. A leading critic of the queen's visit is Gerry Adams, the leader of the republicans' political party, Sinn Fein. He called it premature while partition of the island is in place. Prince Philip, the 91-year-old husband of the 84-year-old British monarch, will accompany her to Ireland. The last serving British monarch to visit Dublin was King George V in 1911, before WWI and before the republic gained independence from Britain almost 90 years ago. The queen is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland, but has never stepped across the border. In 1979, a bomb claimed the life of her cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was boating in Northern Ireland. The IRA claimed responsibility. Enda Kenny, leader of the Fine Gael party, who is expected to head the country's next government, described the royal trip as "overdue."

History of Ireland (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Queen Elizabeth sets May date for Royal visit to Ireland (Irish Central 7 Mar 11)

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams: Partition means it is premature (Belfast Telegraph 5 Mar 2011)

What next for Sinn Fein in Republic (BBC 4 Mar 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-05-17