Wednesday 23 August 2017

Diarmaid Ferriter: Visit marks sheer effort to overcome our troubles

Queen Elizabeth and President Mary McAleese, with Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Chief of Staff Lt Gen Sean McCann, at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin
Queen Elizabeth and President Mary McAleese, with Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Chief of Staff Lt Gen Sean McCann, at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin

Diarmaid Ferriter

THE image was powerful in its dignity and its simplicity. Head bowed, Queen Elizabeth did what she has done countless times in many countries at national shrines.

But this was different -- because of all that has happened in Anglo-Irish affairs in the 100 years since her grandfather, King George V, was in Dublin, and because she was here to pay respect to those who had died fighting against the British Empire, not to be received by loyal subjects as her grandfather was.

That it happened was an indication of confidence on the British and Irish sides that both were ready for a gesture of this significance given the troubled history between them. It was moving, even emotional, and was inevitably and justifiably regarded as historic.

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