Saturday 3 December 2016

Why most of us want to see the royals here again

Inviting them to the 1916 centenary is an expression of confidence – not neo-colonial subservience, says Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 27/04/2014 | 13:00

The Queen and President Mary Robinson at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin on May 17, 2011.
The Queen and President Mary Robinson at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin on May 17, 2011.
Sunday Independent/Millward Brown

If we carry on like this, the British are going to start getting the idea that we want them back. That's surely what hardline republicans will be thinking when they see the result of the latest Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll, which finds strong support for the attendance of a member of the British royal family at events to commemorate the 1916 centenary.

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Whatever the reason, the fact that nearly six out of 10 of us support the idea of British royals being invited to events celebrating the end of British rule, with only 30 per cent opposed, is a vindication of the surprise announcement made during President Higgins's historic State visit to Britain earlier this month that such a visit would go ahead in 2016.

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter was particularly critical at the time because, from an academic's point of view, he felt that hosting the royals would be a "distraction" from examining the real history of 1916.

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