Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Poll finds we'd welcome UK royals to 1916 event

Alyson Henry

Published 27/04/2014|02:30

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Rod Dennison and Paul Callery, members of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteer History Group, pictured at the opening of the 1916 Rising in Dublin's Liberty Hall.  Picture; GERRY MOONEY.
Rod Dennison and Paul Callery, members of the Dublin Brigade of the Irish Volunteer History Group, pictured at the opening of the 1916 Rising in Dublin's Liberty Hall. Picture; GERRY MOONEY.

A STRONG majority of Irish people are in favour of a member of the British royal family attending the 1916 Centenary Commemorations, according to a Sunday Independent/Millward Brown opinion poll.

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A total of 57 per cent of those surveyed said they thought it was appropriate that a member of the royal family be present for the celebrations, which will mark 100 years since the Easter Rising.

Thirty per cent rejected the idea, saying they didn't think it was appropriate. Thirteen per cent marked themselves down as "don't know".

Out of the 1,523 people surveyed, older people and those from a farming background tended to be more welcoming of the idea of a royal presence at the centenary, while younger people and Dublin voters didn't think it necessary.

Broadcaster Joe Duffy, who is writing a book on the children killed in the Easter Rising, yesterday echoed the views of the majority expressed in the poll.

He told the Sunday Independent: "If the British royal family comes to an event to mark the centenary I think that is perfectly acceptable. It should be an occasion of inclusion not exclusion."

He was speaking at the 1916 Rising Festival in Liberty Hall, Dublin, yesterday. "There are many ordinary civilians that lost their lives that week that history has forgotten. Their families should be at the 2016 Centenary, as should those from Northern Ireland, relatives of the rebels, and yes, the royal family. But everyone should be treated royally," he said.

If the Queen does attend any of the centenary celebrations in 2016 it will be the second time in 100 years that a British monarch has made an official visit to Ireland.

Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea further endorsed the 57 per cent majority view of the opinion poll, but said celebrations should be "grassroots ones".

Referring to Queen Elizabeth's visit in 2011, Mr O'Dea warned the Coalition not to use a second visit as an opportunity to bask in "political glory".

He told the Sunday Independent: "The importance and significance of the 2011 visit, particularly the Queen's small nod of the head when she laid a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance . . . can only be diminished by attempting to have her or Prince Charles re-enact it in 2016."

He said any future royal visits "should be a signal of how normalised and friendly relations are between our two counties".

"The 100-year anniversary of the Easter Rising shouldn't just be marked by parades and gatherings of the great and good, but instead include as many people as possible, right across every community on the island."

Sunday Independent

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