Our nation can restore its pride
In a strange way, the Queen's visit and the passing of a great Irish leader were equally good for the Irish State.
The good that men do is too often interred with their bones, but we hope the private hurt of Garret FitzGerald's family over the death of a kind and gentle man will be eased by the public celebration of the good deeds of the great philosopher king of Irish politics. Even in repose, Mr FitzGerald is still doing 'some service' to the State for after the Faustian debacles of Haughey, the amorality of Mr Ahern and the incontinence of Mr Cowen's ghastly reign, he reminds us of the good politics can do.
Somewhat more to the nation's surprise, the Queen's visit provided us with the same message as a nation which has found it difficult for quite some time to be proud to be Irish engaged in an emotional truce with the old enemy. The happiest feature of our mutual decision to "bow to the past but not be bound by it" was its dignity. Nobody fawned, no one of any consequence barracked and respect mingled with understated affection was evident on all sides.