Ireland and the Monarchy Mess
Irish President Mary McAleese extended an invitation to Queen Elizabeth II to visit Ireland next month and the place has not been the same since. A goodly number of Irish are ambivalent over the first visit by a British monarch to the 26 County Republic and, even if generally anti-royalty, would want to be hospitable. As one Cork City fella explained: “I wish the old gal no harm which is more than I can say for a few bankers around here.”
As if on queue, however, the British news print pundits and their counterparts in the Irish media, have unleashed an avalanche of justifications for the Irish people to be overjoyed with a visit by Betty of Battenburg. Mary Kenny of theIrish Independent suggests the visit is most welcome because it will “..showcase Ireland..” for investment. Ed Curran of the Belfast Telegraphclaimed that “…there was no blacker mark on the Irish people than to have failed to invite her until now.” Bloggers Wintour and Watt of the Guardianindicated the Queen regards the N. I. peace process as one of the finest domestic achievements of her reign. Kevin Meyers and Henry McDonald, stringers for the British Army, warn the Irish about security for her Majesty and selectively list violent acts of the past. Still other observers instruct the great unwashed of Ireland how grateful they should be that the Queen will grace the island with her presence. But Matt Cooper of the Irish Examinerpretty much sums up all of it with his column of Friday last.
Cooper cites the “big gesture” by the Queen in visiting the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. It must be remembered that the Queen’s visits are first and foremost publicity stunts and her presence at the memorial to all who died for freedom from British rule is primarily for domestic (English) and American consumption. Those lovely royals ready to let bygones be bygones!! Nobody wants the Irish people to forget British treachery more than Prime Minister Cameron whose government is fighting efforts for truth and accountability for the killing of solicitors Patrick Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, the Dublin/Monaghan bombings and other acts of slaughter. Cooper would have the Queen ignore the words inscribed on the wall of the Garden: “Oh Generations of Freedom do not forget us the Generation of the Vision.” Mr. Cooper needn’t have worried about the Irish people putting aside rows from the past. Thanks to extraordinary British and Irish censorship and State media control most have rarely heard and will never know the ugly truth of British rule.
In response to the voices of those opposed to the visit, Cooper suggests the Irish must show themselves to be grounded mature people. This is a particularly ironic instruction. What kind of maturity is displayed by a government that will spend 18m Euros to humor England by participating in this charade of a visit. A ceremony that will validate the phony world of hereditary monarchy by hosting a Queen, touted to have all the power and influence of a potted plant; and she descended from of a long line of murderous miscreants. Was it not Oscar Wilde who wrote that “one should study the Peerage; it is the best thing in fiction the English have ever done.” It staggers the imagination to grasp the immaturity of this modern day form of idol worship. Cooper claims Queen Bess has a popular and proper mandate to represent the British people but, in truth, she is no more than a prop for the British government of the day; going where she is told and saying what she is told to say.
Mr. Cooper uses a traditional theme to justify enthusiasm in welcoming the monarch by claiming Britain has been a good neighbor. It would be hard to find a worse neighbor. England did everything it could to deprive a people of its language, culture, faith and freedom and when it could no longer do so over the entire island planted a regime in Belfast with a bayonet to continue those practices and policies. Indeed their presence in the North guarantees they will continue to impact tax, economic and social policies often to the detriment of the Republic; fiddling with the corporate tax in the North being but the latest example. Their communications listening center in Cheltenham insures every conversation in Ireland is under their review.
Finally, Cooper laments that some Irish people would “.. live in the past rather than in the present”….. preferring to blame Britain for our own woes rather than admitting to Ireland’s own failures.” How’s that for a win-win for her Majesty’s government!! Britain is anything but forthcoming on decades of violence and injustice including the undeclared act of war of the Dublin /Monaghan bombings and gets a free pass on admitting failures!! The Irish government, which has for so long been doing British bidding especially on the bombings cover-up, is now to be chastised for not admitting some imagined British sleights. It doesn’t get much better than that for hypocrisy.
American author William Faulkner wrote that “the past is not dead; in fact it is not even past.” British caricaturing, debasing, and defining of the Irish character and their instructions on how the Irish people should act seem ever present. More distressing is the fact that there always seem to be Irish men and women willing to embrace those instructions even if patently false and unjustified.
Michael J. Cummings, Member
IAUC National Board