Dissident Republicans have again failed to disrupt the Queen’s first visit to Ireland.
Supporters of the Eirigi Socialist Republican group were kept well away as the Queen laid a wreath to the 50,000 Irish servicemen who died in World War 1.
The service – at the Irish War Memorial in Islandbridge – saw the Queen lay another wreath, less than 24 hours after she commemorated the leaders of the 1916 Rising at the Garden of Remembrance.
Republican sympathizers took exception to the invitation to five former Brigadiers with the UDA loyalist paramilitary group to attend Wednesday’s memorial service to those Irishmen who fought and died for the King of England in the first World War.
Their angry protests were thwarted once again as Irish police threw a ring of steel around the first British monarch to visit Dublin in a hundred years.
With 20 protestors in police custody after Tuesday evening’s disturbances near the Garden of Remembrance, tensions were high throughout the morning.
But the 30 or so Eirigi supporters could find no way past the police cordon as they sought to voice their anger at the presence of former UDA volunteers at the Irish War Memorial.
Afterwards one of the UDA men present spoke to reporters about the event and its place in the peace process.
Former UDA leader Jackie McDonald said: “The fact the Queen has been accepted by so many people on her visit here represents a keystone of the peace process.”
McDonald added: “It shows the two countries, Britain and Ireland, can have a shared future.”
Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson was also present at the wreath laying ceremony although his deputy Martin McGuinness declined an invitation.
Speaking about the inclusion of the UDA on the official guest list, Robinson pointed out that the protestant community in the North had: “Been prepared to stretch themselves when Republicans had needed to be brought in from the cold.”
First Minister Robinson added: “It is equally important that groups like the UDA be encouraged to share a peaceful future.”
Robinson and his wife Iris are due to attend Wednesday night’s State dinner for the Queen in Dublin Castle – Mrs Robinson’s first public appearance after recent controversies over her private life.
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