Massive security for Queen's visit




Final preparations are under way for the British Queen’s historic four-day visit to the country which begins tomorrow.

The largest security operation in the history of the state is in place amid fears dissident republicans will try to disrupt the trip.

Several significant engagements will be held in Dublin and Cork, Kildare and Tipperary during the royal state visit – the first by a British sovereign to the Republic of Ireland since independence.

The Queen will visit Croke Park, the scene of a massacre by British troops in 1920, and attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance, which honours those who died for Irish freedom.

She will also pay tribute to the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in the First World War at the Irish National War Memorial Garden.

President Mary McAleese said the visit was an extraordinary moment in the history of the island.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the visit as the start of a new era and insisted the Queen would receive a warm welcome from the vast majority of Irish people.

“The visit of the Queen is symbolically a healing of the past and facing with courage to the future,” he added.

Armed British police officers will patrol the streets alongside thousands of gardaí and soldiers to protect the 85-year-old monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The massive security operation is focusing on potential terrorist threats as well as plans for “a protest stunt” by breakaway factions opposed to the peace process.

Events will be staged at Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse and Convention Centre in Dublin, the English Market in Cork, and the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary.

And the Queen’s love of horses is reflected during visits to the Irish National Stud in Kildare and Coolmore – the world-renowned international thoroughbred racehorse stud in Tipperary.

Motorists and commuters are also bracing themselves for traffic chaos as rolling road closures and parking restrictions imposed across the capital remain in place for US President Barack Obama visit’s next week.

But the Queen’s arrival tomorrow morning, on the 37th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, has also sparked controversy.

Bereaved families of the 34 people killed and survivors have penned an open letter to the Queen to urge British Prime Minister David Cameron to open secret files which were withheld during an inquiry.

Victim groups believe the bomb attacks were carried out by loyalist paramilitaries with British state collusion.

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