'Deepest sympathy' | 

Taoiseach and President Higgins lead Irish tributes to Queen Elizabeth

An Taoiseach conveyed his “deepest sympathy” to “King Charles, the Royal Family, the UK Government and the British people on the loss of their beloved monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth”.

Queen Elizabeth II and President Mary McAleese lay a wreaths at the Garden of Remembrance on May 17, 2011 in Dublin, Ireland. The Duke and Queen's visit is the first by a monarch since 1911.© Getty Images

Members of the Irish Defence Forces military police lower the Irish flag to half mast outside Government Buildings in Dublin after the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Eoghan MoloneyIndependent.ie

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and President Michael D Higgins have led tributes to Queen Elizabeth following her death at age 96 today.

The Queen died at her residence in Balmoral this afternoon and her son, Charles, is now the King.

An Taoiseach conveyed his “deepest sympathy” to “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,” he said.

“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.”

Members of the Irish Defence Forces military police lower the Irish flag to half mast outside Government Buildings in Dublin after the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II

President Higgins said Queen Elizabeth “served the British people with exceptional dignity”.

“It is with profound regret and a deep personal sadness that I have learnt of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” President Higgins said.

“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.

“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.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Queen Elizabeth helped usher in a “new era of hope and reconciliation between our two countries, opening a new chapter in relations between Ireland and the UK”.

“Her life was devoted to public service, and her dedication to her work, to her people and to her country, over seven decades of extraordinary and sometimes difficult change, won respect and admiration all around the world.

From our perspective, she will always be remembered as the first British monarch to visit an independent Ireland, a visit which was a watershed moment on the long road to reconciliation. Symbolism matters, and the visit showed that it is possible to move beyond a painful history, and use our shared experiences to build a new future in a spirit of hope and forgiveness,” the Tánaiste said.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said the Queen was “more than a monarch” and that she “defined an era”.

A White House statement said: “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her.

“An enduring admiration for Queen Elizabeth II united people across the Commonwealth. The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.

“She was the first British monarch to whom people all around the world could feel a personal and immediate connection – whether they heard her on the radio as a young princess speaking to the children of the United Kingdom, or gathered around their televisions for her coronation, or watched her final Christmas speech or her platinum jubilee on their phones.

“She, in turn, dedicated her whole life to their service.”

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese has said Queen Elizabeth gave “such faithful and dignified service for many decades”.

“The people of Ireland will fondly remember her historic visit in 2011 when her presence and her words did so much to cement a culture of reconciliation and partnership between these islands.

“The warm welcome she received underlined the great desire of the Irish people, a desire strongly reciprocated by Her Majesty, The Queen, for good neighbourly relationships to flourish between us. Let us hope that legacy, in which she invested so much, will be honoured and realised,” Prof McAleese said.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald extended her sympathies to the British Royal Family on the death of Queen Elizabeth II and saluted her contribution to change, peace and reconciliation in Ireland.

"I wish to extend deepest sympathy to the British Royal Family on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

"Her passing marks the end of an era. Relationships between our two countries for so long marked by conflict and suffering have been recast and reimagined through the Good Friday Agreement.

"The Queen proved a powerful advocate and ally of those who believe in peace and reconciliation. I salute her contribution to the huge change that has evolved in recent years.

"Her death is a moment of heartbreak and pride for the British people. To them, and especially to Irish unionists, I extend on behalf of Sinn Féin and Irish Republicans sincere condolences.

"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílís,” Ms McDonald said.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss, dressed in black, addressed the nation outside No 10.

She said: “We are all devastated by the news that we have just heard from Balmoral.

“The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world.”

Sir Elton John described the Queen as an “inspiring presence” and said he would “miss her dearly”.

The musical megastar said the Queen had been a huge part of his life “from childhood to this day” in his own online tribute.

“Along with the rest of the nation, I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s passing,” Sir Elton wrote.

“She was an inspiring presence to be around, and lead the country through some of our greatest, and darkest, moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth.

“Queen Elizabeth has been a huge part of my life from childhood to this day, and I will miss her dearly.”

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola tweeted: “Few have shaped global history like Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her unbreakable commitment to duty and service was an example to all.

“The world mourns with her people in the United Kingdom and beyond. She was truly Queen Elizabeth the Great. May she rest in peace.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“She was a constant presence in our lives – and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history.

“He added: “As we look back at her life and her reign that spanned so many decades, Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion, and warmth. Our thoughts are with the members of the Royal Family during this most difficult time.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted: “It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“On behalf of the people, we extend sincere condolences to the @RoyalFamily, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill said she had learnt of the death of the Queen with “deep regret”.

She tweeted: “The British people will miss the leadership she gave as monarch.

“I would like to offer my sincere sympathies and condolences to her children, and wider family as they come to terms with their grief.

“I wish to especially acknowledge the profound sorrow of our neighbours from within the unionist community who will feel her loss deeply.

“Personally, I am grateful for Queen Elizabeth’s significant contribution and determined efforts to advancing peace and reconciliation.”

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, tweeted: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered as a stalwart of our times.

She provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people. She personified dignity and decency in public life. Pained by her demise.

“My thoughts are with her family and people of UK in this sad hour.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth is a profoundly sad moment for the UK, the Commonwealth and the world.

“Her life was one of extraordinary dedication and service. On behalf of the people of Scotland, I convey my deepest condolences to The King and the Royal Family.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the Queen had been a "steadfast and unshakeable head of state".

Mr Donaldson said: "Her gracious approach has been a constant throughout our lives.

"Today we mourn Her Majesty's death, but we do so with tremendous honour for one who served God and her people faithfully.

"Her Majesty led by example in Northern Ireland and reached out the hand of friendship to help with the reconciliation process.

"We are duty-bound to build on that foundation."

The DUP leader added: "The royal visit to the Republic of Ireland was ground-breaking and the warmth with which Her Majesty was received demonstrated that she was revered and respected far beyond the United Kingdom.

"Her visits to my constituency in Royal Hillsborough invoke precious memories for the residents and for all of us, and I know her death will be felt acutely in that village."

The cross-community Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said her thoughts and prayers were with the royal family.

"They are mourning a much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother," she said.

"But while they have lost a matriarch, the entire country and indeed Commonwealth has lost a person who has been a figurehead and leader for 70 years. Her loss will be keenly felt by many."

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie said it was one of the saddest days the UK had ever known.

He said: "Without realising it, we have lived through a second Elizabethan Age, a reign which has encompassed massive political, social and economic change, the decline of empire, moon landings, Cold War, the decline of the old heavy industries and the growth of the internet and 15 prime ministers.

"Through it all she remained a constant and reassuring presence in the lives of the people of the United Kingdom providing both stability and continuity, and the sense of loss today is profound."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: "My thoughts and the thoughts of all those in the SDLP are with Queen Elizabeth's family at an extraordinarily difficult time.

"The blessing of a long life does not make the burden of saying goodbye any lighter.

"I also want to extend my deep condolences to all those, across the world, but particularly in Northern Ireland for whom the Queen held a cherished place in their lives and their hearts."

TUV leader Jim Allister said: "To the nation and almost everyone alive she has been an intrinsic part of our lives.

"Her steady leadership and devotion to duty have hallmarked a reign of unparalleled success.

"Adjusting to life without Her Majesty will be a major national challenge.”

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