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Irish President in historic UK visit

This is the first state visit by an Irish head of state to Britain. It's a sign of how much relations between Dublin and its former colonial master are improving. Britain's Queen Elizabeth hosted a banquet for Irish President Michael Higgins (SOUNDBITE)(English) BRITAIN'S QUEEN ELIZABETH SAYING: "We, the Irish and the British, are becoming good and dependable neighbours and better friends, finally shedding our inhibitions about seeing the best in each other." (SOUNDBITE)(English) IRISH PRESIDENT MICHAEL HIGGINS SAYING: "I can assure you that this first state visit by a president of Ireland to the United Kingdom is a very visible sign of the warmth and maturity of the relationship between our two countries." Another mark of just how far things have changed was the participation of former Irish Republican Army guerrilla chief Martin McGuinness in a toast to the Queen. The conflict over British-ruled Northern Ireland claimed more than 3, 600

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