Cowen: No obstacle to Queen Elizabeth II visit

As RTÉ reports [Updates added]

The Taoiseach has indicated that Queen Elizabeth II will probably make a state visit to Ireland before the end of next year.

Speaking in London after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Cowen indicated the visit might be before the end of President Mary McAleese’s second term in office at the end of next year.

The Taoiseach said that no obstacle now exists to prevent a state visit to Ireland by Britain’s queen taking place.

And the iol report adds

“I think that would be a good development,” the Taoiseach said.

“I think also that the importance of an exchange of state visits says a lot about the modern bilateral relationships we now have.

“We have started a process between both the Prime Ministers’ offices whereby we can look at this prospect.

“I would like to see this happening during the tenure of our own President (McAleese).”

Mr Cowen, who met Mr Cameron for talks in Downing Street, said a state visit by the queen, and a return trip to Britain by an Irish President, would be part of the normal courtesies enjoyed by friendly, neighbouring states.

Update According to Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, TD.

“Sinn Féin opposes the proposed state visit of the Queen of England, Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces. Until there is complete withdrawal of the British military and the British administration from Ireland, and until there is justice and truth for victims of collusion, no official welcome should be accorded to any officer of the British armed forces of any rank.”

Adds  As Seymour Major pointed out recently, a visit to Ireland by the UK’s head of state in 2011 would “mark the 150th Anniversary of a visit to Killarney by Queen Victoria in 1861.”  And

Such an anniversary would also coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the last visit of a British Monarch to Ireland by King George V (the Queen’s paternal grandfather) in 1911.