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Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed to Dublin

Aung San Suu Kyi Image copyright AFP

The Burmese pro-democracy campaigner, Aung San Suu Kyi, has arrived in Dublin from Norway for a six hour visit.

She was met at the airport by the Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore.

He said he was honoured and delighted to give her the Irish cead mile failte (hundred thousand welcomes).

"Ms Suu Kyi is enormously admired in this country and her visit here is something which we have long hoped to see," he said.

"I want to again pay tribute to those Irish human rights organisations and individuals who campaigned on her behalf and who helped highlight her struggle over so many years."

In Norway at the weekend she was given the Nobel Peace Prize which she was awarded in 1991 but could not collect because she was under house arrest at the time.

Ms Suu Kyi, who was also met at the airport by Burmese children carrying flowers, is meeting President Michael D Higgins at his home, Aras an Uchtarain in Dublin's Phoenix park, on Monday afternoon.

She will then go on to an event organised in her honour by Amnesty International at the Bord Gais theatre.

Rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof will join her there where she will presented by the U2 singer with Amnesty's Ambassador of Conscience award.

Afterwards the pro-democracy campaigner will formally accept the Freedom of the City of Dublin, which she was awarded in 2000 but could not accept because of her 15 years of house arrest.

Burma's opposition leader has led a peaceful campaign against the country's military leadership for more than two decades.

It was only last month - two years after her release - that she felt confident she would be allowed to return to Burma, also known as Myanmar, if she travelled abroad.

This year, Ms Suu Kyi also led 42 other members of her National League for Democracy into the Burmese parliament.

She is due to leave Dublin on Monday night for a four-day visit to the UK, where she lived, studied and married before returning and launching her long campaign for democracy in her native Burma.

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