Sunday 11 December 2016

Cameron to join queen in Dublin for historic dinner

Fionnan Sheahan and Shane Hickey

Published 12/05/2011 | 05:00

British ambassador Julian King and Mary Byrne at the announcement that the 'X Factor' star will perform for the queen at the National Convention Centre next week
British ambassador Julian King and Mary Byrne at the announcement that the 'X Factor' star will perform for the queen at the National Convention Centre next week

British Prime Minister David Cameron will come to Dublin next week during the visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

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Mr Cameron will make his first official trip to the country since being elected prime minister last year.

He will meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government Buildings and then attend the state dinner in honour of the queen.

Mr Kenny met with Mr Cameron in Downing Street last month and the prime minister will make a return visit next month.

The leaders are expected to discuss a range of issues, including European affairs, the economy and Northern Ireland.

Mr Kenny said he looked forward to meeting with Mr Cameron.

"He is very supportive of Ireland. We have a very good working relationship in terms of the business and the politics of what we have to do, both inter-country and in the European context and I am very happy to have had the support of Prime Minister Cameron.

"Indeed, his government was one of the first to offer bilateral loan arrangements for Ireland," he said.

Mr Kenny said the visit of the queen sends out a powerful message about the relationship between Britain and Ireland.

"It presents Ireland with an opportunity to present our people and our country in a global sense, which will have its own impact both in a European sense and beyond.

"I do hope the people of Ireland will turn out in very large numbers and give the queen, her husband and her entourage a real royal welcome here in the country," he said.

Yesterday, British ambassador Julian King said he had "absolute confidence" in the security measures being put in place by gardai ahead of the visit of the queen and declared the "visit is going to go well".

"Not everybody is happy and if they want to make their views known, as long as they do so peacefully, I am sure that will be fine," he said.

The queen will host a concert in the Convention Centre in Dublin's Docklands on Thursday, May 19, which will feature performances from Westlife, The Chieftains and Mary Byrne. Some 2,000 guests will be invited to the event.

Yesterday, Ms Byrne said the visit is a "historic occasion" for Ireland but that she remained nervous at the prospect of performing in front of the royal audience.

"I am still Mary Byrne from the tills and I still find it very surreal at times. I find it quite hard that people want to take your photograph and talk to you.

"It takes time to get used to but I am quite proud and happy to have been given this opportunity," she said.

"I do think it is a big moment for Ireland. I think we have moved on a lot. I think it is a lovely thing to have someone from the royal family come onto our soil."

Irish Independent

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