Gardaí are continuing preparations for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II next week.

Parking restrictions on over 30 streets in Dublin took effect from 6am this morning and will remain in place all week.

Gardaí say up to 4,000 personnel are working at any one time as part of the preparations and ongoing security operation.

Significant areas of the capital are now subject to parking restrictions including the North and South Quays, Nassau Street, Pearse Street, Thomas and James's Street, Dame Street, Gardiner St, Mountjoy Square and Conyngham Road.

Parnell Square East and North Frederick Street are both closed to vehicle traffic until further notice, although there is pedestrian traffic in the vicinity of Parnell Square.

As soon as the streets become clear barriers to line the routes will be erected.

Those barriers will remain in place throughout the royal visit. Cyclists have been asked not to lock their bicycles to railings or lampposts along designated routes.

Thousands of manholes covers and lampposts have been checked and sealed as part of the security operation.

There are no traffic restrictions planned for the city either today or tomorrow, but restrictions on some routes will begin on Monday.

On Tuesday, the N4 into the city will be diverted onto the M50 at the Lucan interchange.

In Tipperary, gardaí are stepping up security around the Rock of Cashel ahead of the visit.

The Queen will arrive at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel on Tuesday to start her four-day State visit.

Commemoration of World War I Irish soldiers

Protestant clergymen, Orange Order members from both sides of the border and former loyalist paramilitaries are expected to be among the guests at next Wednesday's Islandbridge Commemoration event attended by President McAleese and Queen Elizabeth II.

The guests will also include some of those responsible for developing the Messines Peace Tower in Belgium, in memory of the Irish soldiers who fought in World War I.

The President and Queen Elizabeth II as well as the King of Belgium attended the inauguration of the Tower in November 1998.

Dr Martin Mc Aleese, husband of the President, has spent several years building relationships with community leaders, including former paramilitaries in Loyalist areas of Northern Ireland.

Former UDA leader, Jackie Mc Donald, has also been invited to Wednesday's event.

Minister's response to controversy over visit

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said it is regrettable that media coverage of the Queen's visit so far this weekend is dominated by Sinn Féin's commentary, which is by and large looking at the past.

Speaking on RTE's 'Saturday View', Simon Coveney said Ireland must look forward to a positive future relationship with the United Kingdom.

Mr Coveney said traders in the English Market in Cork told him of their excitement about the Queen's forthcoming visit as an opportunity for the people in Cork to show off what they have for people coming to Ireland.

'This should be a positive news story', he said and he appealed to people 'not to be picking the scabs off wounds of the past'.

Earlier, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams had said that the visit by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is 'a unique opportunity' for Ireland and Britain to build a new relationship based on equality and mutual respect.

Writing in today's Irish Examiner, Mr Adams said he had nothing against the Queen of England being the Queen of England but he was against monarchies.

He said Ireland and England were not strangers and the two countries should build on what they have in common while at the same time respecting each other's sovereignty and independence.

Mr Adams said he hoped the visit would hasten the day when a new and better relationship could be formed but that much would depend on what the British monarch said.

He maintained that the visit of the Queen was troubling for many Irish citizens and found suggestions that the State visit was an indication that Irish people had matured both ‘insulting’ and ‘patronising’.