Britain’s monarch in tribute to IRA Fallen

 Pictures can reportedly say a thousand words. Not often true, but certainly so in this case. Your thoughts? PS I have plenty of thoughts of my own, but I’ll be coming back on that later…..(Picture courtesy of RTE.)

  • mico

    As a Glaswegian, I think this will have big implications in Scotland.

    Our First Minister has recently announced that there is to be new anti-sectarian legislation and because of the perceived requirement for “balance” legislation would likely have attempted to treat anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sectarian bigotry as the legal equivalent of Republican political views. That is, attempting to legislate against both.

    Having the British Head of State pay tribute to IRA fallen volunteers makes it almost impossible for parliamentary draftsmen to construct a law which criminalises a pro-Republican articulation of politics and history. This is very welcome and provides a degree of protection for the Irish Republican community in Scotland.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s fairly typical behaviour of any Head of State visiting another country. It is hugely symbolic, however .
    It wasn’t her family who threatened the IRA with total destruction. It was that wily Welshman.

  • Mark McGregor

    Chris,

    From another angle, SF made a pretty good stab at gate-crashing the event. Arguably they disrupted it more than the dissenters:

    http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/114278001/Getty-Images-News

  • Time to move on. Queen does the necessary as guest. Good manners. No doubt speech tonight will be well measured, thoughtful and no unthinking embarrassing slights.

    Mark, what are we meant to be looking at in that picture?

  • Nunoftheabove

    mico

    I think you may be exaggerating the relevance of this to the position in Scotland and how that may play out. There is certainly a problem in creating a direct equivalance between political free expression and outright sectarianism. I see no sign that the Scottish authorities frankly particularly get this point or have much of a clue how to square that circle. They’re plainly very nervous about being seen to propose anything which can be regarded as imbalanced in terms of – to put it at its crudest – old firm lines.

  • Mark McGregor

    thedissenter,

    As she paid her respects to IRA members, SF released 1,000 black ballooons from their HQ round the corner – you can see them in the shot.

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/20670

  • Nunoftheabove

    Black balloons. Sweet Jaysus tap-dancin’ Christ.

  • Turgon

    Yes Queen rightly or wrongly shows respect to dead IRA members. On the other hand the IRA showed their level of respect to those who fought fascism by blowing up Enniskillen war memorial and murdering those at a service there. A month ago Sinn Fein further showed contempt for both the war memorial and those murdered by the IRA by putting up an election poster at said war memorial.

  • Henry94

    I found it quite moving. As a gesture of reconciliation it would be hard to beat. It is a pity that those British people living in Ireland and Irish people who may have wanted to greet the Queen were unable to do so because of the threat of violence by a tiny minority.

  • Alias

    None of NI’s murder gangs are included in Dublin’s Garden of Remberence.

    That place dedicated to those who gave their lives to the cause of Irish freedom, not to state-sponsored gangs who refused to recognise the freedom and right of the Irish nation to self-determination, usurping the freedom of that nation to choose its own government, before finally rejecting the former right of the Irish nation in NI to self-determination while signing up to the legitimacy of British jurisdiction and the illegitimacy of Irish nationalism.

    The IRA asserted the right of the Irish nation to self-determination while the Provos and other murder gangs did not. Having attained the right to self-determination, the Irish nation self-determined that the murder gangs were proscribed organisations.

    Hence the IRA were bound by the will of the Irish nation, and the murder gangs expressed nothing but contempt for it.

    But it’s nice that NI’s head of state should pay a visit to a foreign state, and that those who now administrate Her Majesty’s rule should understand that the IRA never administrated British rule.

  • Aontachtach

    Mark

    Is this the SF “outreach to Unionists” team in action again? I thought Martina Anderson was replaced by someone with a bit of sense. It’s seems a silly way to reach out the hand of friendship to your (former) enemy by insulting their head of state.

    mé ag tnúth leis an lá ina Uachtarán na hÉirann a dhéanann fleasc ag an Leacht Cuimhneacháin i Londain nó Bhéal Feirste.

  • ranger1640

    Queen’s visit to Ireland could mark the start of a new era, says Gerry Adams
    Sinn Féin leader says Queen’s visit offers ‘unique opportunity’ for mutual respect and equality on both sides.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/15/queen-visit-ireland-gerry-adams

    If Gerry said it it must be true!!! And there was me thinking he and his party were against the Queens’ visit??? Sometimes you just don’t know were you are with Adams and the Sinn Fein project???

    Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams slams Queen Elizabeth’s upcoming visit to Ireland
    Says the visit will cause offense to many Irish victims of British rule

    http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Sinn-Feins-Gerry-Adams-slams-Queen-Elizabeths-upcoming-visit-to-Ireland-117456423.html

  • The balloons were for the anniversary of the Dublin & Monaghan bombs.

  • Zig70

    the term commander in chief is embarrasing, not good for supposedly eloquent agitators to stoop to banal retoric. Expect as much from the over weight dissidents but SF should do better. Seemed a bit strange for the queen to lay a wreath at republican dead but I think I’ve come to realise that undying conviction to your country is what makes politics easy and the queen knows that more than most. Loyalty is why SF and DUP do politics better and why certain companies perform better. Just I don’t have the mentality for it.

  • JR

    Turgon,
    Your capacity for wataboutery is infinite.

    The fallen in the war of independence were democrats and had a mandate unlike the PIRA. It is entirely appropriate that as a head of a democratic state the Queen paid tribute to Irish rebels.

  • Alf

    “It wasn’t her family who threatened the IRA with total destruction. It was that wily Welshman.”

    Joe,

    The man who actually delivered it though was Eamonn DeValera.

  • Mark McGregor

    Ulick,

    Please, read the link. SF said:

    ‘To coincide with the English Queen’s visit to the Garden of Remembrance, Sinn Féin today released black balloons in the sky over Dublin City to remember those who have given their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom.’

  • Alf

    “The fallen in the war of independence were democrats and had a mandate unlike the PIRA.”

    JR,

    That is highly debatable, but I would accept that the myth has now become fact, and that in the context of arguing against current republican atrocities it is good that it has.

  • Turgon

    JR,
    I await Sinn Fein and its supporters explanation for their level of contempt for the war dead. SF claim that the PIRA are the direct heirs of the old IRA. As such pointing out the contrast is entirely valid.

    Your attempt at diversion also shows us something about your position.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Fantastic, loving it … not a fan of the monarchy in general but this visit is really significant. For me as a Brit, it’s making a big statement about our capacity to take the pain without too much whingeing, see the other side without necessarily agreeing with it and to look ahead. Bits of it don’t make logical sense (e.g. visiting the Garden of Remembrance) but there is a lot to be said for British pragmatism. One of the reasons she’s still there and the IRA is finished.

    As a Brit, I am also very pleased that the Republic has honoured and respected our head of state. It really does show how many down there have changed since the bad old days of anti-partitionism. Should have been done years ago of course, but it is welcome all the same and I think can only help us in our continuing struggle to get parity of esteem for Britishness and Irishness on the island.

    The promising start to Feargal Keane’s series also shows how people in the Republic challenging the scared cows of nationalist history can be really transformative. I sense he ‘gets’ it – though I’ll reserve judgement till later. It feels like this more realistic, nuanced and intelligent understanding of Irish history, which won the argument decades ago in academia, is now really starting to be understood and accepted in the popular culture – which, in Ireland, matters a lot. But will it in the same way in Northern Ireland, where the narrative is so influenced still by the old discredited shibboleths of the Republican Movement? The Republic’s and Northern versions of what nationalism means could be set to drift even further apart.

  • GavBelfast

    Other than that it is on our doorstep, is it really that much different to Her Majesty paying her respects to those who fought (against the Crown) in other parts of the world?

    I really don’t have a problem with it.

    I wouldn’t feel that an apology is either warranted, helpful, or, other than by those hooked on victimhood, really expected.

    If The Queen expresses regret, though, we can surely all share in that: it is an enormous regret that so much blood has been spilled here – and that a few would continue to spill it.

  • Alf

    MU,

    I thoroughly recommend A Hard Local War: The British Army and the Guerrilla War in Cork, 1919-1921 by William Sheehan, as another example of how the bullshit republican version of history is being challenged in the ROI.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Just watching the hi-lights again, although I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the Queen commemorating the Republican dead I understand the necessity and maturity of the occasion and it was carried out with great dignity by all involved.

  • Alanbrooke

    So the nice OAP from next door pops round for a cup of tea and the Republican movement loses its grip on reality.

    What are they going to do when that hard-nosed Merkel woman calls by and tells everyone they are going to have to work much harder and none of your lip ?

  • latcheeco

    MainlandUlsterman,
    This a grand gesture but I wouldn’t lose the run of myself. I’d imagine the North and South’s versions of nationalism are to a degree predicated mostly on whether or not they are still officially ruled by said queenie. And your theories on new southern attitudes would be great if it wasn’t for the fact that the president is an Ardoyne girl.

  • JR

    Turgon,
    We all have an atrocity to pick out and rake over for every circumstance.

    You are just like eirigi, objecting to the queens visit because it falls on the anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, if not one anniversary it would have fallen on another.

    ‘Your attempt at diversion also shows us something about your position.’ If you have a point to make. make it.

  • Turgon

    JR,
    This is not picking out an atrocity. it is pointing to the contrast between the respect (rightly or wrongly) shown by the Queen for those who fought against Britain and the contempt shown by the IRA for those who fought not against Ireland but for democracy.

    That contempt extended to murdering those remembering the dead and continues in Sinn Fein placing election posters right beside the site of the slaughter of the innocent.

    The fact that you try to compare the ghastly Dublin and Monaghan bombing murders to Enniskillen says a great deal. I do not compare murders: I condemn them all.

    You asked me to make a point and I have done so. Now tell me do you condemn the murders committed by the PIRA? Do you see their campaign as one of unjustified and unjustifiable sectarian murder? If so why do you object that I point to the fundamentally fascist and thuggish nature of the IRA and their supporters.

  • antamadan

    Great to see visit going well with mutual respect.

    The struggle for Irish freedom took place over many centuries over All Ireland, even though only 26 counties got independence.

    Given todays events, do we now have a tricky situation where QE2 should, when visiting N.I. should visit an Irish republican commemoration event (Pre-1921 memorial say) as-well as British forces memorial events? Or were the old-IRA in Monaghan ok, but the old-IRA in Fermanagh were bad?

  • joeCanuck

    Chris,
    When are we getting your thoughts?

  • Lionel Hutz

    The Sinn Fein position on this has been deeply damaging to the Irish Unity project. Whilst Britain and Ireland, both the people, the governements in London and Dublin and now the heads of state are moving towards proper reconcilliation.

    It has been a considerbale length of time since northern ireland was the frontline of Irish-British relations but now we see it forgotten – the embarassing relative who gets drunk at the wedding. Sinn Fein is leading nationalism in the north and Martin McGuinness is effectively our Head of whatever you want ot call it – but he wont be there. The majority of nationalists in the north are supportive of this visit – even if they dont really care that much- yet SF are dragging their heels.

    So after the ridiculous failure to grab another opportunity when the Pope visited Britain, now this time Sinn Fein are going pass up on an opportunity to demonstrate that the Irish in the North are moving at the same pace as our countrymen and women in the south. The South is moving to reconcile with Britain – if we want unity, we have to keep up

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    Well who would have believed it…the Queen of England paying tribute to all those old Irish Fenian Patriots of the IRA and 1916 etc… who fought her armies for Irish Freedom.

    Pity the Sinn Feiners and the eirigi folk didn’t understand the significance of the symbolism of the occasion.

    Anyway, what a great first day of her visit. I’ve never her seen her smile so much and she looked as if she really enjoyed herself. The Guards of Honor and ceremonies were marvellous. However, pity the day was marred by the troublemakers and rioters of the ideologically bankrupt eirigi and fellow sleveens.

    They sullied the good names of the old Irish patriot dead!

  • Driftwood

    Rep. of Connaught summed it up. Betty just wants to see the horsies, and get through the boredom asap. She really should just have gone to Punchestown Festival a few weeks ago. She would have enjoyed it (unsure about Philip), and, like me, made a couple of quid.
    All the other stuff is just bollocks, I hope her Majesty comes to Fairyhouse next year, she’s miserable at all this politics shite.
    Gerry Adams should lay a wreath at Shergar’s final resting place, as he’s the only person who knows where it is.

  • tacapall

    What a picture empty streets, a calvacade of range rovers filled with security forces and personal bodyguards, fk a real welcome, Im sure the queen felt real wanted, didn’t see much kowtowing or flag waving seemed like she was just doing what she was told to do, go over and say these lines and act like you give a fk. no big deal really.

  • latcheeco

    JR
    Those 1916 chaps don’t really fit into your analysis of acceptable rebels with a mandate, do they?

  • gendjinn

    It’s amusing to watch the very unionists that went on and on about “baron” adams in the mistaken belief it would needle nationalists with their knickers in a twist over their precious monarch honouring the terorrists that founded the Irish state.

    One wonders how they survived the apoplexy of the queen receiving Menachem Begin.

  • Harry Flashman

    “It’s fairly typical behaviour of any Head of State visiting another country.”

    Indeed but in Ireland it can lead to rather offensive incidents as when a French president or Belgian King is expected to honour the “gallant allies” of the men who invaded and raped their homelands.

  • DR

    “Just watching the hi-lights again, although I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the Queen commemorating the Republican dead”

    I suspect that a lot of others felt the same way as you did. To some, it will look like a contradiction, in terms of stating British values.

    The historical importance of the 1916 rising was not so much the fact of a rebellion but rather how Irish people reacted to it afterwards. The rebellion certainly tapped into feelings of grievance harboured by Irish people as a result of wrongful acts or neglect caused by the British earlier in Irish history. I personally believe that as an act, the rebellion was wrong. It was also a disaster in a number of ways, one of them being that it inspired later acts of terrorism.

    Since Ireland became independent, the rebellion has symbolised the birth of the Irish State. That is why the Queen was there. The ceremony does not now mean that the British now acknowledge that the rebellion was right. It was really about showing respect to Ireland as a nation and respect to the feelings of the Irish people.

  • Dec

    Seymour

    The Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to the memory of “all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom”. This includes not just the 1916 Uprising but also the War of Independance and the United Irishmen amongst other campaigns.

    ‘Indeed but in Ireland it can lead to rather offensive incidents as when a French president or Belgian King is expected to honour the “gallant allies” of the men who invaded and raped their homelands.’

    Who, like the current Queen’s uncle?

  • Dec,

    Thank you for pointing that out. I was fully aware of that. Included in that description are members of my own family.

    I was responding specifically to DR and others on this thread who have made a reference to 1916.

  • JR

    Turgon,
    Firstly, I did not compare the dublin and monaghan bombings to the bombing of enniskillen. In My view they are equally abhorant. I compared you and your way of picking a disaster to meet the circumstance Turgon, to eirigi’s.

    Now tell me do you condemn the murders committed by the PIRA? Yes, every single one.

    Do you see their campaign as one of unjustified and unjustifiable sectarian murder? Unjustified, Yes. Sectarian, Sometimes but not always.

  • Turgon

    JR,
    Good to see you condemning IRA murders. I am a little bemused about them being not always sectarian. I hope that is a technical point like they also murdered Catholics (they did more of that than anyone else) rather than a weasel worded attempt to make some of their crimes less abhorrent.

    As to comparing my views with eirigi. Ag yes let us see: I have consistently condemned any and all murderers here in Northern Ireland: eirigi and indeed Sinn Fein support some murders and murderers: albeit not always the same ones. As such your comparison is invalid. Still do not let that stop you flinging about lying accusations.

  • JR

    Turgon,
    Once again you choose to not read or respond to what I am actually writing. I never conpared any of your views with eirigis. For the third and final time

    ‘I compared you and your way of picking a disaster to meet the circumstance Turgon, to eirigi’s’.

    That is my personal oppinion of your comment above. You can take it of leave it.

  • Turgon

    JR,
    I pointed out that the Queen showed respect to the dead IRA members from the past but that the current IRA’s version of respect for the dead of the war against facism was to blow up the war memorial at Enniskillen murdering 12 people. Then their political supporters put up election posters at that war memorial.

    You regard that as an equivlent action to eirigi’s. To you a unionist pointing out republican hypocrisy and revolting murder and insult is similar to eirigi’s behaviour. That is what you have stated. Whether you like it or not that tells us a great deal about your own views.

  • Dec

    Seymour

    Didn’t mean to single you out. As you intimate there are a few who seem to think Irish Independence began and ended with the Easter Rising ( and consequently find it easy to dismiss Irish Nationhood as a minority pursuit).

  • Nunoftheabove

    JR

    Not all of those who are commemorated in the Garden of Remembrance can be said to be proven democrats by a common definition at all. Some of them were, some of them were straightforwardly elitists who did not seek (nor in some cases arguably were they that driven to seek) any form of mandate whatsoever and who it cannot be said enjoyed mass support when they did what they did whether you approve of what they did and/or what they achieved or not. There is nothing necessarily wrong about commemorating them at all but let’s get our terminology straight here. That’s the same argument that the active traditional republicans use now – we don’t really need a 2011 mandate but we just know better than everyone else that that’s what they want us to do and (and sure one day they’ll be grateful to us for ignoring their wishes anyway) (and we ‘re entitled to have it whether they actually want it or not) and from that assumption derives sufficient justification for what we do now. It might be sufficient for you, it ain’t for everyone.

  • Alias

    Iisn’t it interesting that sectarian murder gangs such as the Shinners are trying to spin it as their Queen honouring their dead? Gosh, I think these so-called ‘republicans’ would be besides themselves with giddy joy if Her Majesty handed out a few knighthoods to them as further honours…

  • Nunoftheabove

    Alias

    Well that’s true of some, certainly. Others however don’t seem capable of telling the difference between laying a wreath in a respectful and dignified manner and urinating on the graves of the dead. They don’t seem entirely sure either which version or interpretation best fits their narrative. The majority of them are as thick as pig-poops, mind you.

  • JR

    Nun,
    Point taken.

  • Todd

    Jeez, Roll on the next 15 years…

  • RedTurtle

    @gendjinn

    It’s amusing to watch the very unionists that went on and on about “baron” adams in the mistaken belief it would needle nationalists with their knickers in a twist over their precious monarch honouring the terorrists that founded the Irish state.

    One wonders how they survived the apoplexy of the queen receiving Menachem Begin.

    As a unionist speaking personally I haven’t the slightest problem with it because if anything the justice of the cause of the old IRA was exactly the same as the justice of the cause of the old UVF – they were both fighting for the right of self determination for their people to choose of which state they wanted to belong. It is the demogeography that made them enemies not any great difference of ideology like Communism or Fascism versus Liberal Democracy.

    The independence of the Republic is legitimate for the same reason that Northern Ireland within the UK is legitimate. The old IRA, even if they included in part those who would see Northern Ireland wrenched into a Republic against it’s will, were basically in the broad brush morally right, in their aims at least. This is in contrast to the Provisional IRA who were a geography and history above people type of nationalist group who valued the self determination rights of one nationality above those of another, more akin to the Serbs who want to retain Kosovo, or indeed the Jewish settlers in the occupied territories (since you brought up Israel). That is a MUCH more difficult position to justify morally. I think even those who believe that it can be justified would if they are honest admit that I am right that that is the case. It’s much more difficult to justify forcing a territory into your country in which the majority in that territory don’t want it than justifying the self determination of the people of a territory who wish to express their belonging to a certain state or another in the great majority.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Who, like the current Queen’s uncle?”

    I wasn’t aware that King Edward VIII invaded and raped France and Belgium, do enlighten me.

  • joeCanuck

    Alias,

    You leave me totally confused at times. I’m not blaming you for that, it may be very well me.. I think I understand your distinction about sovereignty and and the difference between nation and state. But I don’t understand where you stand on the current arrangement whereby the country may be united if the population of N.I. so wish it to be. Can you enlighten me?

  • Blissett

    ”The promising start to Feargal Keane’s series also shows how people in the Republic challenging the scared cows of nationalist history can be really transformative. I sense he ‘gets’ it – though I’ll reserve judgement till later. It feels like this more realistic, nuanced and intelligent understanding of Irish history, which won the argument decades ago in academia, is now really starting to be understood and accepted in the popular culture – which, in Ireland, matters a lot.”

    Well yes, perhaps, but not after he had first exumed said sacred cows.
    Although of course we were all stunned when we found out we werent all descended from the celts. No really, honestly, Feargal really put the cat among the pigeons there.

    As to the picture it is significant in my view, and whatever way you cut it, the title sums it up. I think on the whole SF may be a degree dissatisfied with how this has gone. To some degree there has been a bit of cant about being in stormont and supporting the cops but not greeting the Queen. Its a bit artificial.
    I think the problem was that its no win for them. Welcome them, and be called sell outs and annoy some of your own base and indeed membership. Stand against it and look just a tad petulant with a bit of a stretched line on why.

    As to people’s attitudes generally in the south, it would be a mistake to assume that official Ireland’s version of this is shared by all and sundry. I think it was broadly welcomed, but I do think people are a bit weary of the obsequieous RTE coverage, and certainly many are frustrated with being effectively locked out of large parts of their city centre, and others will be annoyed at the cost.
    The coverage is pretty horrendous in fairness as well. I think most republicans would be far more aggrieved at the times the indo and the examiner at the end of the week than the queen herself. Its hardly her fault that so much unctious nonsense has been spouted in her name.
    In particular, the word mature has lost all meaning this last week. I don’t get whats particularly mature about this eternal desire for approval from the great the good and the powerful.
    Its been a damn weird week in any case.

  • RedTurtle

    @antamadan

    The struggle for Irish freedom took place over many centuries over All Ireland, even though only 26 counties got independence.

    Given todays events, do we now have a tricky situation where QE2 should, when visiting N.I. should visit an Irish republican commemoration event (Pre-1921 memorial say) as-well as British forces memorial events? Or were the old-IRA in Monaghan ok, but the old-IRA in Fermanagh were bad?

    That’s a very interesting question, and brings up another.

    The equivalent of what the Queen did would in fact not be Mary McAleese attending a WWI/WWII memorial but rather her attending a commemoration of the landing of the Clydevalley, say at the memorial in Larne, or a commemoration of the signing of the Ulster Covenant. Would we and should we see such a thing in the name of parity of esteem?

    I think that a world in which we could see the Queen laying a wreath to the old IRA in Fermanagh would have to be one in which the President of Ireland commemorated the Ulster Covenant and Clydevalley. A case of neither or both.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    latcheeco,
    Indeed the Ardoyne girl is the Achilles heel of the new Irish attitude to Britain and Britishness. She is deeply sectarian, in my view – and her latest speech full of not so subtle slights to people of British identity in Northern Ireland. Petty and unstatesperson-like (if that’s a word)

  • latcheeco

    MainlandUlsterman,
    Thanks for replying. I think you were too hard on her metaphors even if they were tortured (I thought both speeches were awful and not anywhere near MLK or JFK quality and certainly not even in the same hemisphere as Churchill). She wasn’t slighting unionists she was talking as an Irish nationalist. That’s how we see the world. You might disagree with how she sees it, but she’s not going to give a speech from your perspective. Many would suggest that rather than the achilles heel she and her northern friends might have been the impetus for the new Irish attitude. It had to come from a Northern nationalist. The more important point is why?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    latcheeco,
    Well, I wasn’t expecting a speech from my perspective – just equal respect for the British people in her home province to that she expects for her own ethnicity. I’m sorry but it is slighting unionists by failing to acknowledge us when talking to our head of state about the links between Ireland and Britain. It is a glaring omission. With her background and her previous, I can’t think it’s accidental.

    I agree, she was certainly talking as an Irish nationalist. But it raises questions about how, post-GFA, nationalists should talk about the British in Northern Ireland. Marginalising us or pretending we’re not there doesn’t wash any more, in the era of parity of esteem. There is only one bunch of people she needs to show respect for outside her own people and it’s us. She’s showing herself to be either incompetent, naive or just petty-minded.

    She seems to me stuck in the past and giving poor leadership to her country on the subject of how they should relate to the other nationality on the island, especially compared to (whatever you think of the rest of their political careers) Mssrs Aherne, Cowen and Kenny. Bertie Aherne especially I found at times impressively realistic and respectful in his approach to us.