Sunday 18 November 2018

The Queen and us? A step too far . . .

Charles Lysaght

THE groundwork is once more being laid for a State visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth to this country. Our President is plainly keen to reciprocate her own State visit to Britain and sees it as part of the bridge-building in all directions that she does so well. Similar soundings were made in 2002 both by the President and the then British Ambassador but nothing came of them.

State visits are part of the stock-in-trade of relations between friendly states and a visit is seen as putting a stamp of normality on British-Irish relations in celebration of the better relations that have followed upon their agreement on a settlement on Northern Ireland. This removed the contentious Irish claim to sovereignty over that part of our island and pledged both governments to seek a cross-community administration there.

As one who deplores Anglophobia as demeaning to ourselves and who desires better and possibly closer relations between the British and Irish governments as well as our peoples, I have misgivings whether a formal royal visit at this stage would make much useful contribution.

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