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February 4, 2023

Queen offers sympathy to victims of Ireland’s ‘troubles’

DUBLIN – Queen Elizabeth II exchanged toasts Wednesday evening with Ireland’s president at Dublin Castle and expressed “deep sympathy” to those who suffered during the long and bloody conflict between Britain and Ireland, as CNN informs.

The monarch, who was applauded when she began her remarks in the Irish language, acknowledged the complex relationship between the neighbors separated by water and different cultures. Still, she and Irish President Mary McAleese spoke of a new friendship and partnership. Elizabeth’s landmark visit to Ireland is the first by a U.K. monarch since the country gained independence in 1922. “It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss,” Elizabeth said during a formal dinner. “These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families,” she said. “To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy.”

McAleese cited trade ties between the countries and said a “new foundation” will strengthen the relationship. Elizabeth on Tuesday laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. The wreath-laying ceremony was of huge symbolic significance as the Garden of Remembrance honors those who fought for Irish freedom from British rule. McAleese has developed a good relationship with the queen and has visited Buckingham Palace, the queen’s official residence in London, on a number of occasions, say royal experts.

During her stay, the queen was visiting the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge and Croke Park Stadium, where British troops opened fire on a crowd watching a Gaelic football match in November 1920, killing 14. The massacre was sparked by the murder of 14 British intelligence officers by the Irish Republican Army.

The visit has prompted police to mount a major security operation amid threats of dissident republican violence. Ireland has spent USD 42 M on security for the visit, according to officials.

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