Reaction: Queen visit to Ireland

Politicians have been giving their reaction to Buckingham Palace's announcement that the Queen has accepted an invitation to make her first visit to Ireland.

Northern Ireland First Minister, Peter Robinson

The news of a visit by Her Majesty to the Irish Republic will be welcomed by all right-thinking people throughout the United Kingdom and that country as a positive development.

It is a sign of the normalisation of relations between our two countries that such a visit by our head of state will be taking place.

I would urge republicans to afford Her Majesty the same degree of respect shown by people in the United Kingdom to Mary McAleese.

It is not necessary to agree with the institution of monarchy to show respect, just as I have with the elected president of the Republic of Ireland.

Ulster Unionist Party leader, Tom Elliott

I warmly welcome the news that Her Majesty the Queen is to pay a state visit to the Republic of Ireland later this year.

This is an example of the increasing normalisation of relations between two neighbouring sovereign states and it should be welcomed by all in society.

Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams

There are still a lot of legacy issues that need to be resolved.

I don't think this is the right time for the English queen to come here. I don't think we can afford it, apart from anything else.

As we continue to build a new dispensation, then all of those things are possible, but not now.

SDLP leader, Margaret Ritchie

I very much welcome the fact that President McAleese has issued, and that the Queen has accepted, an invitation to make an official visit to Ireland this year.

While this event is certainly historic in its own right, it is, just like the English rugby team playing in Croke Park, another sign of the positive maturity and closeness of Anglo-Irish relations in recent times.

Both the Queen and the President have played no small part in signalling an end to old enmities and a blossoming of an excellent new relationship between Britain and Ireland.

Alliance Party leader, David Ford

I wholeheartedly welcome the announcement from President McAleese that the Queen is to visit Ireland.

This is a further and extremely significant step forward in building positive relationships between all the people of these islands.

British Ambassador to Ireland Julian King

The invitation symbolises how far the relationship has come in recent years; the strength of our economic and political ties; and the progress that has been made in Northern Ireland.

The visit will provide an excellent opportunity to celebrate this, and build on the rich and varied links that exist across these islands.

Ireland's Ambassador to London, Bobby McDonagh

I know that the large and diverse Irish community in Britain will wish to join me in welcoming today's announcement.

The visit reflects the depth and the warmth of the British Irish relationship and the extent to which it has developed in recent years.

The friendship between our two islands and between our peoples has never been closer politically, economically or culturally.

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