A major public debate is now in progress, concerning the suggestion that members of the British royal family might be invited to attend official commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Permission has been obtained to re-blog here the following excellent analysis by an anonymous poster at an online forum.
“If the royal family wishes to show respect for Ireland’s national independence day, the best way they can express that is to stay home. And write us a nice letter.
During President Michael O’Higgins’ state visit to the UK, we are informed that the Queen “invited herself” to Dublin’s official 2016 commemoration ceremonies. This immediately gave rise to controversy; and rightly so.
Because the question immediately becomes not shall we receive her, but can we refuse?
This is evident in that the Dublin mayor, in expressing his opposition to royals at Easter Rising events, has already felt it necessary to apologize for any offended feelings in the UK.
The Queen’s very manner of raising the question gives the game away. She’s already treating us like subjects. She’s already making herself at home, as if this were her domain.
‘Inviting herself,’ in her world, is to magnanimously send word ahead that one is to be honoured by the royal presence. That’s what she does in England. And at this resounding word, everyone scurries about, breathlessly preparing a suitable reception. Because it’s an honour they can’t refuse.
But she’s not at home here. This has slipped her mind. She must be made to remember it.
Because let a reigning British sovereign but once attend, and a precedent is set. Receiving royals at 1916 events will come to be seen as an obligation. And to refuse them would then be an international incident.
Overnight their presence at 1916 events will have become in effect obligatory. Where we are obliged to receive, they will reign. And the path they trod will be thick with their followers, official and unofficial, overt and covert.
If we already dare not refuse, for fear of giving offense, that is the greatest reason why her self-invitation to this sonorous national occasion must be declined.
The Dublin government must refuse: just to prove that it can.
The 1916 Rising is not an event to commemorate by clinking glasses with British royalty.
It marks an epoch on this island which is defined, above all, by our right to be entirely free from the British Crown and all its works.
It’s argued that it’s a statement of confidence in our independence, that we can now magnanimously put past conflicts aside, to entertain the Queen, as we would any other visiting diplomat.
But an English sovereign can never be any other visiting diplomat. Nor is Ireland’s independence so very complete or secure; as the international banking collapse has proven.
Relations between Ireland and England will always require great delicacy and circumspection; if the laudable dream of mutual respect is to be realized.
The Queen, as the UK’s number one diplomat, showed a sad lack of such delicacy or circumspection, when she condescendingly informed us to prepare to receive her.
No Irish man or woman should ever apologize to any UK citizen for our right to determine who we shall or shall not invite to our national events, or for any other decision taken by the Irish people, as a nation.
Thanks for inviting yourself, but no, you can’t come. That’s all. End of story. No apologies.”
This writer can only wonder … What would Michael Collins do?
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
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