Security threat rises ahead of Queen's visit

Security threat rises ahead of Queen's visit

The Army Bomb Disposal Team has made safe a viable Improvised Explosive Device and declared two others as hoaxes in the lead-up to the Queen's visit today.

The Queen sets foot on Irish soil today for the start of a historic state visit which will herald a new era in relations between Britain and the Republic.

Politicians on both side of the Irish Sea have described the four-day event as momentous.

When the Queen, joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, arrives in Dublin she will become the first British monarch to travel to the Republic in 100 years and the first since the nation gained independence from Britain.

An unprecedented security operation, costing an estimated €30m, is in place to safeguard the royal couple, which includes land, air and sea patrols and a ring of steel around the centre of the capital.

Some opposition to the royal visit has been voiced, which comes against a rise in dissident republican violence.

A viable Improvised Explosive Device found in Co Kildare overnight was made safe shortly before 2am.

The device was found in the luggage compartment of a bus parked outside the Glen Royal Hotel in Maynooth.

Meanwhile a suspect device discovered on the Luas line in Inchicore in Dublin has been declared a hoax and the Tyrconnell Road has now reopened.

Gardaí were also alerted to a suspect device which was found in the Summerhill area of Dublin city overnight.

Bomb disposal experts were dispatched to the scene, however it has since been declared a hoax.

Elsewhere, Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the royal visit as a historic event which would symbolise the normalisation of relations between Ireland and Britain.

“This is a historic and symbolic visit dealing with the conclusion of the past and a message for the future,” he said.

The Taoiseach said he did not know what would be in the Queen’s speech to Dublin Castle – her only address this week – and refused to be drawn on speculation as to whether or not it would include an apology for Britain’s past treatment of Ireland.

“I assume she will refer to the centuries of a different relationship between Ireland and Britain, but also to speak of the time to come where we know the way forward is by co-operation, understanding, doing business with each other as two modern countries, and as two peoples who want to get on with life, develop our economies and provide for the future of our families,” he said.

The Taoiseach said there was no question of the royal visit being postponed on the back of security threats in London and outside Dublin.

While he defended the right to protest in a democracy, he said he did not want anyone to embarrass the nation during the tour.

Mr Kenny also insisted there would be extensive interaction between the monarch and Irish people despite a massive security operation banning any walkabouts and keeping the general public at some distance.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, in an interview with RTE, said the itinerary had been carefully selected to take account of a complex history.

“I hope she (the Queen) gets a very good reception. I think she will. The people in Ireland are kind and generous and compassionate,” he said.

“I think 100 years on from the last time a British monarch visited Ireland I think there is a great sense of history and occasion.

“I think also the programme itself, which I think has been drawn up with immense sensitivity and care and thought by Her Majesty and by those working with her, I think that demonstrates an understanding of Irish history and all its complexity and I think that is absolutely right.

“But I think the real effect as I say will be a marker that just as we are solving some of the problems there have been between us in the past, just as we are helping each other through these difficult economic times, now is a great moment for people in Britain and people in Ireland to remember what it is we share.”

The PM noted that 6 million people in the UK have an Irish grandparent, 100,000 British-born people live in the Republic and both nations reap the rewards of 3 million tourists travelling across the Irish Sea.

He added: “I believe Her Majesty’s visit will be the start of something big.”

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