Britain's Queen Elizabeth will visit the Republic of Ireland in 2011 - the first visit by a British monarch since independence.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said there were "no obstacles" to such a historic visit.

Speaking after his first official visit with the British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, Cowen said he hoped the visit would take place before President Mary McAleese leaves office in November 2011.

Cowen said the Anglo-Irish relationship had been completely transformed by the Good Friday peace agreement.

"We should reflect on the very good relations between our peoples on the islands of Ireland and Britain and I think also that normal courtesies involving the exchange of visits by heads of state is something that can and should happen," he said.

McAleese has met Queen Elizabeth on several occasions but there has never been an official State meeting.

However, Cowen is hopeful this will now change.

"I've given an indication that in my opinion no obstacle now exists against the very positive background in which we now operate for those courtesies of friendly neighbouring states exchanging visits through heads of state," he said.

Sinn Fein however have strongly objected.

 Irish member of parliament Caoimhin O Caolain stated

“Sinn Féin opposes the proposed state visit of the Queen of England, commander-in-chief of the British armed forces,” he said.

“Until there is complete withdrawal of the British military and the British administration from Ireland, and until there is justice and truth for victims of collusion, no official welcome should be accorded to any officer of the British armed forces of any rank.”

Queen Elizabeth II