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Queen visits Ireland -

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Queen visits Ireland

Broadcast: 19/05/2011


The Queen has made her first visit to Ireland after nearly 60 years on the throne.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: After decades of turmoil and bloodshed between Britain and Ireland, the
Queen's delivered an historic speech at Dublin Castle in which she acknowledged the sorrow of a
shared troubled past. Earlier in the day she visited the scene of the Bloody Sunday massacre, Croke
Park Stadium, where in 1920 British soldiers killed 14 unarmed Irish civilians.

It's the Queen's first visit to Ireland after nearly 60 years on the throne and she's the first
British monarch to make the short trip since her grandfather George V in 1911.

Although the Queen's speech stopped short of an apology, many will interpret it as a giant step in
healing old wounds. Here are some excerpts.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: The relationship has not always been straightforward, nor has the record over the
centuries been entirely benign. It is a sad and regrettable reality that through the history our
islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartbreak, turbulence and loss.

These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never
forget those who have died or been injured and their families. To all those who have suffered as a
consequence of our troubled past, I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy.

With the benefit of historical hindsight, we can all see things which we would wish had been done
differently or not at all. But it is also true that no-one who looked to the future over the past
centuries could have imagined the strength of the bonds that are now in place between the
governments and people of our two nations, the spirit of partnership that we now enjoy and the
lasting rapport between us.

That transformation is also evident in the establishment of a successful power-sharing executive in
Northern Ireland. A knot of history that was painstakingly loosened by the British and Irish
governments, together with the strength, vision and determination of the political parties in
Northern Ireland.

What were once only hopes for the future have now come to pass. It is almost exactly 13 years since
the overwhelming majority of people in Ireland and Northern Ireland voted in favour of the
agreement signed on Good Friday, 1998, paving the way for Northern Ireland to become the exciting
and inspirational place that it is today.

I applaud the work of all those involved in the peace process. It gives hope to other peacemakers
across the world that through sustained effort, peace can and will prevail.

These ties of family friendship and affection are our most precious resource. They are the
lifeblood of the partnership across these islands, a golden thread that runs through all our joint
successes so far and all we will go on to achieve. They are a reminder that we have much to do
together to build a future for all our grandchildren, the kind of future our grandparents could
only dream of.

So, we celebrate together the widespread spirit of goodwill and deep mutual understanding that has
served to make the relationship more harmonious, close, as good neighbours should always be.