Royal visit prelude to first to the Republic

The Queen and the Belfast born Irish President met in Northern Ireland today. Noel McAdam reads it as groundwork for a long anticipated Royal visit to the Republic, the first by a British head of state since independence. Not everyone is pleased.

The groundwork for the official visit – which would be the first by a British monarch since partition in 1921 – was being laid as the Queen and President carried out a series of engagements that included their first meeting on Irish soil, north or south of the border.

The two heads of state have already carried out their first formal function together – at a Co-operation North dinner in London during the summer. But not since George V and Queen Mary arrived at Dun Laoghaire in 1911, has a British monarch set foot south of the border.

While she was making no formal speech comment today, President McAleese has said the Irish and British governments have agreed the royal visit to Ireland should take place.

Over at ATW, Andrew McCann is livid.