Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in Croke Park during her State Visit to Ireland in 2011 (Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE)
Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin have expressed sadness on the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.
They said her state visit to Ireland, in 2011, marked a crucial step in the "normalisation of relations with our nearest neighbour".
President Michael D. Higgins said it was with profound regret and a deep personal sadness he had learnt of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
President Higgins stated: "On behalf of the people of Ireland, may I express my heartfelt sympathy to His Majesty King Charles and to the Royal Family on their very great personal loss. May I offer my deepest condolences to the British people and to the members of the Commonwealth on the loss of a unique, committed and deeply respected Head of State.
"Her Majesty served the British people with exceptional dignity. Her personal commitment to her role and extraordinary sense of duty were the hallmarks of her period as Queen, which will hold a unique place in British history.
"Her reign of 70 years encompassed periods of enormous change, during which she represented a remarkable source of reassurance to the British people. This was a reassurance based on a realism of the significance of present events, rather than any narrow conception of history. This was so well reflected by a remarkable generosity of spirit which helped to foster a more inclusive relationship both with the British people themselves and with those with whom her country has experienced a complex, and often difficult, history.
"As President of Ireland, I recall the exceptional hospitality afforded to Sabina and myself by the Queen and the late Prince Philip on our four day State Visit to Britain in 2014. Together we celebrated the deeply personal interconnection between the Irish and British people, a connection embodied by the hundreds of thousands of families who have moved between our shores over the centuries.
"As we know, the Queen often spoke of how much she enjoyed her own historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011, the first such Visit by a British monarch since Irish independence, and during which she did so much through eloquent word and generous gesture to improve relations between our two islands.
"Queen Elizabeth’s Visit was pivotal in laying a firm basis for an authentic and ethical understanding between our countries. During those memorable few days eleven years ago, the Queen did not shy away from the shadows of the past. Her moving words and gestures of respect were deeply appreciated and admired by the people of Ireland and set out a new, forward looking relationship between our nations – one of respect, close partnership and sincere friendship.
"As we offer our condolences to all our neighbours in the United Kingdom, following the loss of a remarkable friend of Ireland, we remember the role Queen Elizabeth played in celebrating the warm and enduring friendship, and her great impact on the bonds of mutual understanding, between our two peoples. She will be deeply missed.
"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin expressed sympathy on behalf of the Government.
"I would like to convey my deepest sympathy to His Majesty King Charles, the Royal Family, the UK Government and the British people on the loss of their beloved monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
"The Queen’s reign was one of historic duration, immense consequence and a focus of respect and admiration around the world. Her dedication to duty and public service were self-evident and her wisdom and experience truly unique.
"The Queen’s passing is indeed the end of an era. Her State Visit to Ireland in 2011 marked a crucial step in the normalisation of relations with our nearest neighbour.
"That visit was a great success, largely because of the many gracious gestures and warm remarks made by the Queen during her time in Ireland.
"Her popularity with the Irish people was also very evident and clearly made a very positive impact on the Queen. In particular, I recall the warmth of the welcome she received from the public in Cork during her walkabout at the English Market.
"To her grieving family and people, the Irish Government join with you in mourning the loss of an exceptional woman who led by quiet and dignified example and who touched so many lives over her exceptionally long reign.
"Our world is a poorer place for her passing but a far richer and better place as a result of her long life and enduring contribution.
"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis."
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