President to meet Orde in trip to North

President Mary McAleese is to hold talks with Northern Ireland’s most senior police officer, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, it emerged today.

President Mary McAleese is to hold talks with Northern Ireland’s most senior police officer, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, it emerged today.

The meeting is part of the President’s trip to Belfast on Thursday when it is hoped she will visit staff, children and parents at a primary school on the Shankhill Road.

President McAleese put off plans to visit the staunch unionist heartland in January after a row broke out over remarks she made about Protestant sectarianism.

Mrs McAleese caused a political storm after she compared the irrational hatred of Jews by Hitler’s Nazi movement to an irrational hatred of Catholics passed on by people in the north to their children.

The President apologised in person on RTÉ radio the following day.

Ulster Unionists accepted her retraction and they said the matter was closed, but the leader of the Progressive Unionist Party David Ervine said the damage was long-term.

The President and Sir Hugh Orde are due to meet at the headquarters of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in east Belfast on Thursday morning.

Following the meeting Mrs McAleese will travel to Edenbrooke Primary School in the Shankhill area to meet teachers and pupils and the board of governors.

She also plans to visit a school in Taughmonagh, a loyalist estate in the south of the city, and Aquinas grammar school and Nazareth House care home on the Ravenhill Road.

Mrs McAleese has made more than 60 official visits to the North.

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