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Queen Sends Greeting to Ireland

March 17, 2001

LONDON (AP) _ Queen Elizabeth II has sent a first-ever St. Patrick’s Day greeting to the president of Ireland, an apparent sign of warming relations between the two countries.

``I send my greetings to you on the occasion of Ireland’s National Day, together with my best wishes for the good fortune and happiness of the people of your country,″ said the royal message to President Mary McAleese.

``It reflects the ever-growing closeness and warmth of relations between Ireland and the United Kingdom,″ the British embassy in Dublin said.

Many in Dublin hope to see the queen visit Ireland, which no British monarch has done since the republic gained independence from Britain in 1922.

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