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air corps get ready to salute michael D

This is the Air Corps making a spectacular flypast over the capital as they prepare for the inauguration of President Michael D Higgins.

A formation of four Air Corps Pilatus PC-9M trainer planes was snapped over Dublin Castle and O'Connell Street yesterday, practising for tomorrow's ceremony.

Seven of the Swiss-built turbo prop planes are in service with the Air Corps as its main training plane.

The planes are used for basic to advanced training and normally fly with one pilot and one student, but each will be flown tomorrow by a single pilot.

Nearly 300 soldiers will be involved in the ceremony and will provide a 21-gun salute, parades and escorts of honour drawn from the 2nd Cavalry Squadron, based in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines.

The new President will be accompanied by a Cavalry Corps motorcycle escort of 29 officers and troopers.

Last week, gunners preparing for the 21-gun salute were firing blank rounds from near Collins Barracks as they practised for the big day. Tomorrow they will be using 25-pounder field guns, recently retired from active use but now used for ceremonial salutes.

Final preparations were also under way today at Dublin Castle for the inauguration.


However Mr Higgins is not expected to use former President Eamon de Valera's 1948 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.

President Mary McAleese used a Mercedes Benz S-class for day to day transport.

Mr Higgins will sit in a specially designed new President's chair during the ceremony.

A State reception will be held in Dublin Castle tomorrow night.