Dissidents plan street protests against royal visit
Published 17/02/2011 | 05:00
REPUBLICAN protest group eirigi is planning a series of street demonstrations against the proposed visit of Queen Elizabeth.
A timetable for the visit has not yet been released by the Irish and British governments. However, it is expected that the visit will probably take place in May and be concentrated in the greater Dublin area.
Senior garda anti-terrorist officers have started drafting contingency plans for the queen's security and it is likely that leave will be cancelled for a large portion of the force during her stay here.
Detailed planning will not get under way until an itinerary has been determined.
However, eirigi, which has been heavily involved in a number of street demonstrations and confrontations in recent months, warned yesterday that Queen Elizabeth was not welcome in Dublin and that any plans for her to be afforded a state visit would be vigorously opposed.
Its chairman, Brian Leeson, said: "The last visit to Dublin by an English monarch took place 100 years ago. On that occasion, socialist republicans such as James Connolly and Constance Markievicz were to the forefront in opposing that visit.
"The reasons for their opposition are as valid today as they were then and eirigi will lead the opposition in exactly the same spirit."
Mr Leeson claimed that the visit was designed to "normalise and legitimise the occupation of the Six Counties.
"As commander in chief of Britain's armed forces, she is the figurehead of those troops, who currently occupy the Six Counties and who invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq."
He said the group's campaign would be stepped up with a protest outside the British Embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin, on Saturday, March 12.
Garda Special Branch officers will monitor the embassy protest and other demonstrations involving eirigi and supporters of dissident republican groups.
The visit will result in the biggest VIP-protection operation for more than two decades.
Anti-terrorist officers are particularly concerned that a visit would be used by groups such as the Real IRA, the self-styled Oglaigh na hEireann and the Continuity IRA to stage an attack or mount a propaganda "spectacular" to take advantage of the worldwide publicity that is likely to surround the visit.
Attacks by the dissident groups in Northern Ireland have increased in the past year.