Henry McDonald,The Guardian
Reacting to the Queen’s only speech during her four day visit to the Republic, the Sinn FÃ©in president said: “I believe that her expression of sincere sympathy for those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past is genuine.”
The prime minister also praised the tone of the Queen’s speech, adding: “I think this visit will set the seal on what is already a very strong relationship between our two countries, but a relationship I believe that can get even stronger still.”
All of Thursday’s Irish newspapers were full of praise for the nature of the address in St Patrick’s Hall on Wednesday night in front of a host of dignitaries from the Cameron, Peter Robinson, NorthernÂ Ireland first minister (his wife Iris made her first public appearance since the sex scandal that lost her a Westminster seat), Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, Irish rugby star Brian O’Driscoll and various former Irish prime ministers.
Speaking before the Queen, Irish president, Mary McAleese, said the royal state visit was the culmination of the success of the peace process and an acknowledgement that whilst the past cannot be changed, there has been a decision made to change the future.
She then received a rapturous applause and a standing ovation and ended her speech with a toast to the president and people of Ireland.
The Queen was expected to visit the Irish National Stud on Thursday in Kildare and there she will meet students of the racing academy and some of the people who trained winners from this year’s Cheltenham festival.
The British ambassador to Dublin will host a return event, celebrating the visit at the Convention Centre Dublin
A fashion show featuring Irish and British designers will precede a concert from Westlife and X-Factor contestant Mary Byrne.
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