The Queen in Ireland: bomb found on bus hours bore historic state visit
A bomb has been found by police just hours bore the Queen&aposs historic state visit to Ireland, in the wake of a threat by dissident republicans.
The bomb, described as "a viable improvised explosive device", was found in the luggage compartment of a bus on the outskirts of Maynooth, Co Kildare.
A controlled explosion was carried out and the device made safe by the Irish army in the early hours of this morning.
The team arrived on scene at 11.10pm last night and the bomb was declared safe at 1.55am. The remains of the device were handed over to the Irish police for investigation.
A massive security operation has been launched in Dublin ahead of the Queen&aposs arrival today.
Police are patrolling the streets, parking is prohibited in many areas and large swathes of the city are being closed off.
On Monday, a dissident republican terror alert brought parts of London to a standstill and the threat level is high.
Politicians on both side of the Irish Sea have described the four-day visit as momentous.
Sir John Major, the former prime minister, said it "put a seal on the past and [would] build for the future".
Sir John, who first set in train the peace process in Northern Ireland which led to the current power-sharing arrangements, said that the visit was the most significant Royal trip for many decades.
When the Queen, joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, arrives in Dublin she will become the first British monarch to travel to the Republic in 100 years and the first since the nation gained independence from Britain.
An unprecedented security operation, costing an estimated �26.2million, is in place to safeguard the Royal couple, which includes land, air and sea patrols and a ring of steel around the centre of the Irish capital.
Some opposition to the Royal visit has been voiced, which comes against a rise in dissident republican violence. But both the British and Irish governments say they hope the official trip will hasten a new and better relationship between the people of Ireland and Britain, built on equality and mutual respect.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, will join the Queen tomorrow for part of her trip, highlighting the importance of the visit, and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, will accompany the Royals throughout their stay, as part of normal practice.
The Irish president, Mary McAleese, said: "I think it is an extraordinary moment in Irish history. A phenomenal sign and signal of the success of the peace process and absolutely the right moment for us to welcome onto Irish soil, Her Majesty the Queen, the head of state of our immediate next-door neighbours, the people with whom we are forging a new future, a future very, very different from the past, on very different terms from the past and I think that visit will send the message that we are, both jurisdictions, determined to make the future a much, much better place."
Enda Kenny, the Irish Taoiseach, has said the Queen will receive a "warm welcome" from the people of Ireland and that the public would have opportunities to meet her.
The Royal tour will take in Dublin and the counties of Cork, Kildare and Tipperary.
In Dublin, the Queen will visit several politically and historically significant sites laden with symbolism such as Croke Park, the scene of a massacre by British troops, and the Garden of Remembrance, which honours those who fought for Irish freedom.
The Queen will also be guest of honour at events at Trinity College, the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, and the Guinness Storehouse.
Cork and Cashel are also on the agenda, along with a private visit to Coolmore, an international thoroughbred racehorse stud in Tipperary.
The Queen&aposs grandfather George V was the last reigning monarch to visit the Republic in 1911 when it was still part of Britain.
The bitterness caused by the partition of the island a decade later and the use of the British Army in Northern Ireland strained relations between the UK and the Irish Republic for much of the 20th century.
But the success of the peace process has greatly eased tensions and a visit by the monarch is seen by many as cementing a closer relationship.
Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, stressed his party was still against the Royal visit and would host celebrations of republicanism in each city the Queen visits. He described the visit as premature and insensitive.
Anti-war campaigners and lt-wing republican group Eirigi, which has one council seat, are planning a series of protests.
The start of the visit falls on the anniversary of atrocities which claimed the greatest loss of life in a single day of the Troubles. Thirty-four men, women and children, including an unborn baby, were killed in no-warning explosions in Dublin and Monaghan on May 17, 1974.
The victims&apos families and survivors of a series of bombs have written an open letter to the Queen to mark her arrival in Ireland and will hold their annual wreath-laying ceremony a few hundred yards from where the Queen will commemorate Irish rebels in the Garden of Remembrance.
Justice For The Forgotten has appealed to the monarch to urge Mr Cameron to open secret files which were withheld by the British Government during an inquiry.
An Army spokesman said: "An Army bomb disposal team made safe a viable improvised explosive device overnight in Maynooth, Co Kildare."
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