Cork visit on queen’s agenda

QUEEN Elizabeth II is expected to visit Cork on the last day of her official state visit to Ireland next month.

Preparations for the royal visit stepped up a gear yesterday as diplomats scouted several city locations, including the historic English Market.

A senior detective from Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park was among the “advance party”.

While there was no official comment last night, the Department of Foreign Affairs is expected to confirm by Tuesday that Britain’s queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Leeside on May 20.

Their motorcade is expected to arrive in the city to allow them enter the English Market from the pedestrianised section of Prince’s Street.

The Lord Mayor will take them on a brief tour, showcasing the city’s food culture, before the couple depart for UCC’s Tyndall research centre.

The royal couple is then expected to depart through Cork Airport.

The invitation to visit Cork was extended by Lord Mayor Cllr Michael O’Connell last month.

Valerie O’Sullivan, the city council’s head of corporate affairs, said it will boost the city’s national and international profile.

“We are well used to state visits and will pull out all the stops. We are also very conscious that the UK is our biggest tourist market and we want to showcase the best of what the city has to offer,” she said.

However, Sinn Féin said it will oppose the visit and stage protests.

“It will be a sad day for Cork if the visit happens,” Cllr Mick Nugent said.

“The British monarchy is based on values of hierarchy, inequality and deference which have no place in a modern republic. I see no reason why this feudal relic should be invited to Cork, or feted at taxpayers’ expense.”

A phone poll of about 500 listeners to Cork’s 96FM earlier this week showed that two-thirds of those who voted on the issue oppose the visit.

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