A silent mouth is sweet to hear?

While much of the media attention on Republican protest at the British Royal visit to the 26 counties has focused on éirígí, they were not the only group on the streets with the RNU, 32CSM and RSF also calling for mobilisations. The tiny numbers that turned out after these calls demonstrates the irrelevance militant republicanism continues to have in the lives of the majority in 21st Century Ireland.

SF could have driven a larger protest but decided to opt for other low key (tokenistic?) events and didn’t call for bodies on the streets. A sign of a growing maturity? Comfort with the normalisation of British/Irish relationships and the current status quo or pragmatism in realising protesting masses often can’t be controlled?

However, there seems to have been a snub to SF’s approach, accidental or otherwise, as one of their TDs was denied the right to walk the streets of his city, access his party offices and attend their protest:

The incident occurred as the balloons were released from Sinn Féin offices on Parnell Square which is situated within the middle of the garda cordon. A number of Sinn Féin representatives including Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD were unable to gain access through garda lines.

As media coverage throughout the day also demonstrated, Aengus wasn’t the only one absent during proceedings (though SF’s press release ignores all that and has him speaking as if there was no problem) – the main absentees were the Irish population. The Queen’s motorcade swept through empty streets to arrive at deserted venues mainly met by the sound of clicking army/police boots, military style bands and the distant chants or jeers of protest.

This does raise a question, why didn’t the masses (or at least crowd sized elements) turn out to cheer on the royal party, as seen in nations around the world? Security concerns meaning it wasn’t worth the hassle (to even gather on a street along a well know route)? A population broadly indifferent to what was billed as a historic occassion?

It seems that despite being claimed as a significant rapproachment between the States, today’s events served to demonstrate relationships are anything but fully normalised. Was it the small band of dissenters on the streets setting that narrative or something deeper? The outcome was clear, dissent was a loud voice but was it the dissent of the majority failing to engage and the traditional Irish welcome being absent that was the most conspicuous element?

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  • Why were most people expected to care either way? I watched on tv but even that was more by accident than design.
    I think the idea that people have strong feelings either way is a decade out of date and I think SF know that. Empty streets because a royal is coming is one thing but empty streets because everyone ignored SF would be a whole different thing.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Why would anyone go into the city to see nothing? a black Rangerover pass in the distance at the very most. Check out the TV viewing figures and you just might find the missing masses.

  • Im not exactly sure that cheering crowds are the norm. Ive always found it slightly ironic that Mrs Windsor is more of a curiousity in republics (such as USA) than she is in some places which treats her officially as their “queen”.
    I still remember footage from a “royal” visit to USA where a very large black lady was crying and screaming “she is MY queen…..she is MY queen” into the TV camera.

    I confess to have had two dealings with Mrs Windsor and her hubby both of them unwitting. The first was about August 1982 when I was coming out of the BBC Souvenir/Gift Shop (Bush House, Strand London). The street was deserted and her Roller passed by with just one other car…..and the “Duke of Enbra” gave me a dirty look. I reciprocated. She was coming back from a thanksgiving service for the Malvinas War at St Pauls. I mouthed “Los malvinas son Argentinos” and the Duke can obviously lip read.

    Anda few years ago, I was crossing a deserted in Great Victoria Street towards the Land Registry when her Roller came along with two police motorcyclists. I looked the other way. Again the street was absolutely deserted. Basically I looked the other way in case the “Duke” remembered me from 1982.
    That’ll show them…..
    But the thing that really got me was that the streets were deserted. Indeed the London Street (the Strand/Fleet Street?) had manhole covers all covered up.
    Now no doubt at St Pauls Cathedral and the Balmoral Show (thats where she had been in Belfast) the reception accorded her was affectionate and cordial.
    But I thought it was particuarly ironic as I was just a few feet away from the place where (on a previous Belfast visit) someone had tried to drop a concrete block on her car.
    I think Pippakin is right. Just not a lot of people overly interested. Obviously those who go to see her will be welcoming.
    They accept the visit. And traffic restrictions. And its part of life in a capital city. And theyll do it all with Obama and the Pope or whoever.

  • Alias

    It’s partly a reaction to servile media such as RTE and ilk promote a British Isles view of the irridentist Irish are all all really British and longing for a ‘shared future’ with the motherland once again. Showing programmes about how the indigenous natives welcomed King Edward and Queen Victoria were designed to consolidate this insidious anti-nationalist propaganda but it seems to have backfired…

  • Drumlins pull the other one, people en mass will turn out to see Obama. People resent the head of the Windsor clans visit when Ireland is still partitioned, how could it be otherwise, in such situations sullen contempt has always been how powerless people express their distaste.

    This silly charade has once again demonstrated the massive gulf between government and the people.

  • I think DR is right, If there is any interest it will show in the tv viewing figures.

  • I would not entirely go on viewing figures as a sign of “support”.
    Obviously as a nationalist…and I am….. I can be welcoming, see it as a big step forward or indeed take the opposite view.
    Regardless of politics, I just have a very deep antipathy and indeed hostility to the “royal” family. Some of that feeling is undoubtedly republican and some is just personal distaste for them.
    Now I have amusingly isolated myself from TV because 12th July is bad enough without the same sycophantic journalists putting out a particular (uncritical) editorial from Dublin Castle as they do from an Orange field in Broughshane.
    Its just a few days that the usual suspects love….like “UK” City of Culture or “royal weddings”.
    Anda few days that the usual suspects like me cant stand……like “UK” City of Culture or “royal weddings”
    Simply put there are days that belong to “themmuns” and days that belong to us ..and never the twain (certainly not in the North).
    Roll on coverage of the GAA Championship. After all this wedding and visit stuff, I badly need a day that annoys themmuns.

  • Spud

    Do you not think it ironic that éirígí (rise up) thought the best form of protest was a sit down protest.

  • Well in fairness they are not getting any younger.
    Perhaps a “comfy chair protest” is better suited to them.

  • Mac

    “Why would anyone go into the city to see nothing? a black Rangerover pass in the distance at the very most. Check out the TV viewing figures and you just might find the missing masses.”

    UK TV viewing figures are based on the 5000 or so households with specialist boxes to record what they are viewing, this is then extrapolated up for the number of households in the UK, giving a ‘representative figure’ based on measuring about 0.0002% of the public’s viewing habits.
    Assuming that the republic uses a similar sized tiny fraction to guess figures you essentially have the viewing habits of such a small group that with anything other than TV ratings you would be laughed at if you tried to use them as the basis for anything.

    Furthermore, even that minute percentage figure cannot determine why people are watching something like the queens visit, is it to cheer her on whilst waving a union jack? in the hope of seeing a bit of trouble? to get riled up and shout at Bertie for bowing? or because they left the tv on whilst surfing the web?

    Until such times as she makes a return visit and people are free to cheer or protest the only conclusion you can draw from this visit is that with the exception of some demonstrators, pretty much everyone stayed away.

  • Mark McGregor

    Spud,

    Do you not think it ironic Sinn Fein are in a coalition government? Or the UUP continually split? Or the Soldiers of Destiny have no future?

    No?

    I think it moronic when people expect political groups to comply with their name, in Irish, in every situation no matter how stupid that expectation is.

    eirigi people do sit, shinners do appear in groups with others, FF have no destiny……etc.

    Now, please try to grow up.

  • AGlassOfHine

    How much is Her Majestys visit costing the Irish taxpayer ? I ask,only in the hope of some cheer,on this dreary Tuesday Evening. 😉

  • AGlassOfHine

    “Now, please try to grow up”.

    This from the man who took such delight in wee Rory’s defeat in The Masters,beacause of a Flag on his website !!!

    Excuse me while I insert a smiley………………;-)

  • Alf

    Is the lack of crowds not mainly down to the security measures required in a country which contains so many homicidal maniacs?

  • Mac

    “Is the lack of crowds not mainly down to the security measures required in a country which contains so many homicidal maniacs?”

    You never miss the opportunity to let your racism hang out for all to see do you?

    I think we can safely say there are more ‘homicidal maniacs’ in the north than the south, they include catholics, protestants, republicans, loyalists, politicians, UDR men, men who shot widows and dumped their bodies in unmarked graves, men who beat girls to death after mistaking them as catholic and dumped their bodies in wheely bins, men who blew up pensioners, men who sliced dozens of men up with knives in garages.

    It’s Northern Ireland, the shitiest, hate filled, subsidised excuse for a country in Europe, do you really think we get point the finger at anyone?

  • Alf

    Mac,

    All of the above happened as a direct result of the Troubles. Allegedly courtesy of the ROI FF government which created the Provos.

  • Mac

    “All of the above happened as a direct result of the Troubles. Allegedly courtesy of the ROI FF government which created the Provos.”

    Fuck it.
    I’m not wasting my time with a cliché, there are enough of you on both sides.

  • Alf

    Mac,

    But you already did. In spades.

  • Rory Carr

    The absence of cheering crowds on the streets of Dublin is easily explained – they’re all shagged out and in deep mourning for Jedward after Eurovision.

  • SK

    “Is the lack of crowds not mainly down to the security measures required in a country which contains so many homicidal maniacs?”

    “All of the above happened as a direct result of the Troubles. Allegedly courtesy of the ROI FF government which created the Provos.”

    A famous Irishman once said that hate is the cowards revenge for being intimidated.

    Time to move on Alf.

  • carl marks

    alf you should step back and look at yourself to claim the roi created the provos you overlook the history of the north do you not see that the years of discrimmation against catholics, the malvern st murders, the orange volunteers bombs the attacks on the civil rights marchers the unleashing of the b specials the burning of bombay st and ardoyne and driving catholics out of there homes all over the north also had something to do with it.
    Im not saying that nationalists were blameless but to try to blame it all on the evil south is very sad,
    really it time to take a history lession