Her Most Excellent Majesty in Ireland but a few shorts days ago. She has been to Northern Ireland many times. This was the first time she has set foot in the Republic of Ireland. It is quite extraordinary that it should have taken until now for the head of one EU state to visit the neighbouring state in an official capacity. Mary Robinson when she was the Irish president visited Great Britain and so indeed has Mary MacAleese and that caused not the least ruction in Great Britain. There was a little hostility to the British head of state in the Republic of Ireland but virtually no animus against the Irish head of state in Great Britain.
I was very glad to see the Queen’s Majesty arriving in the Republic of Ireland. She was received with the pomp that is fitting to a monarch. It struck me that Enda Kenny and President MacAleese were genuinely pleased to see her. These were no mere diplomatic smiles.
This moment has been years in the building. Much of the spadework was done by politicians who are no off the scene. It is quite a coup for Mr Kenny to manage this only 2 months into his time as Taoiseach. President MacAleese must retire from Aras an Uachtrain in November yet still this may be her crowning achievement.
Her Majesty was greeted by large cheering crowds. Many people in the Republic of Ireland, even those of a nationalist mindset, have a regard for the British Royal Family. It is a chance to demonstrate the heartfelt friendship between the people of Ireland the people of the United Kingdom.
The trouble about such a visit is that it hands a golden opportunity to ultra nationalists to protest and cause disruption. These xenophobic elements could have turned the visit into an own goal if they had any significant following. However, these anglophobes , I am happy to say, are a tiny minority. Most people have no truck with the racist and attitudes that they espouse. Shame on them for their arrant bigotry.
Her Majesty has visited many places of note in the Republic of Ireland. I disapproved of her wreath laying at the Gardens of Remembrance. This was honouring terrorism. It mollified hardline nationalist opinion. It was the kind of shameful gesture that David Cameron really likes. He will never do the right thing when an easy option is open to him. He cares nothing for history only for cutting deals now. Yes, he is the new Blair.
Her Majesty the Queen is visiting Ireland at a happy time in all but the economic sense. It is a century since her grandfather George V visited Southern Ireland. He was in Northern Ireland twice after that at least. In 1921 he inaugurated the Parliament of Northern Ireland and in 1935 he was there as part of his Silver Jubilee celebrations. When His Gracious Majesty George of that name the fifth set foot ‘pon Erin’s shore in the year of grace some nineteen hundreds and eleven he was welcomed heartily by the people of Ireland. The Home Rule dispute had not yet hotted up.
I read the BBC coverage of Her Majesty’s tour of Eire. I disliked the commentary very intensely. It said that ”even the most committed anglophile must admit that there were centuries of brutal dispossession.” I am quoting from memory. If those are not ipsissima verba they are certainly ipsissima vox. I loathe this rhetorical device. It is this. Even the most partisan person must agree with the following. Therefore if one does not agree with it one’s extremism is off the chart. This travesty of history is typical of the BBC’s self-flaggelating world view.