Tuesday 23 January 2018

Despite odd moments, you deserve the party

One of the triumphs of the Republic is that the Rising will be marked in a state no longer divided by faith, says John Chambers

Queen Elizabeth laid a wreath to the Republican dead at the Garden of Remembrance during her 2011 visit. Photo: Reuters/Arthur Edwards
Queen Elizabeth laid a wreath to the Republican dead at the Garden of Remembrance during her 2011 visit. Photo: Reuters/Arthur Edwards

John Chambers

Though the Government got round to launching its plans for the 1916 commemorations last week, mine have always been a great deal more advanced. I was always counting on leaving the country at the height of what I figured would be an orgy of cant, hypocrisy and collective false memory syndrome.

Ireland of the welcomes? Well, yes, it has been that since my arrival as a boy more than 40 years ago. Ireland has been good to me, and in return I have paid my taxes and fathered two Irish citizens. A fair enough deal, all round - though there has been the odd jarring moment along the way.

There was a party some years back at which some fellow guests, late enough in the evening, began a rebel song. By coincidence I happened to be standing by a fellow Brit. "Well, that makes me feel welcome," she said. It was a small enough thing, but I knew exactly what she meant. As I said, the odd jarring moment.

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