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Olympic torch arrives in Northern Ireland

  • The flame for the 2012 London Games arrived in Northern Ireland on Saturday evening.

    Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary Peters was among the dignitaries who welcomed the torch relay flame in Belfast.

    Before a 1998 peace deal that largely ended fighting between Catholic Irish nationalists and pro-British Protestants, the visit would have been near impossible.

    3,600 people lost their lives during three decades of sectarian violence in the British-controlled province. 

    Over the course of the next five days, some 600 people will carry the flame as it makes its way through more than 60 towns and villages.

    On Wednesday it will cross the border and head to Dublin in a further sign of Anglo-Irish goodwill.

    It will then be taken to Scotland on Thursday before it completes its 70-day relay around the United Kingdom and Ireland.