Irish Republican News · July 12, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Queen’s visit ‘good for peace’ - Britain
Queen’s visit ‘good for peace’ - Britain
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The planned visit to the 26 Counties by Elizabeth Windsor, the ‘Queen of England’, will not harm the peace process but could benefit it, Britain’s newly-appointed Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, Hugo Swire, has claimed.

He said it was “very positive and heartening” that, when Taoiseach Brian Cowen met prime minister Cameron in Downing Street recently, the emphasis was on economic issues and the financial meltdown in the 26 Counties rather than the conflict in the North.

Asked if British policy on the North would change under the new, Tory-led government, Mr Swire, who is MP for East Devon, said: “The prime minister is very, very keen that we move to what he would regard as normality.”

Describing how his own role as Minister of State and that of the North’s Direct Ruler Owen Paterson had changed, he said: “We are in new territory because we’ve come in post-election and post the last round of devolution, that being policing and justice.

“Now, we retain competence for other issues within Northern Ireland but it is certainly not the role that previous ministers and secretaries of state would have.”

On the political situation at Stormont, he said: “The executive is bedded in well.”

Protests have already begun to oppose the state visit by the British head of state.

Last week, almost a hundred took part in a colourful demonstration outside Dublin’s City Hall.

A line of protesters, holding a variety of banners, flags and posters, stretched across the full frontage of City Hall, where a debate was taking place on the visit in a meeting of the city council.

A motion submitted by eirigi’s Louise Minihan read: “That this council notes with deep concern the proposal for a state visit to the Twenty Six Counties by the British head of state.

“Such a visit would be entirely inappropriate whilst the British state continues to implement imperialist policies and commit human rights abuses across the world, most notably in Afghanistan, Iraq and here in Ireland.

“This council calls on the Dublin government to abandon its plans to invite the British head of state to Ireland and on behalf of the proud citizens of this city we declare that Elizabeth Windsor is not welcome in Dublin.”

The City Councillors meeting inside of that building were left in no doubt as to the views of those gathered outside, as loud chants of ‘Do you hear us loud and clear, British royals not welcome here’ echoed along Dame Street.

Roisin Conlon from the Firinne group, which represents and campaigns on behalf of the victims of British state violence in county Fermanagh, spoke to those present.

She outlined Firinne’s belief that in the absence of Britain acknowledging “its brutal and oppressive role as major protagonists throughout the last forty years”, no British state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties should take place.

eirigi’s Ursula Ni Shionnain read out a symbolic list of thirty names, representing the many hundreds of victims of British state violence in Ireland.

Amongst the thirty were male and female, young and old, from all parts of Ireland, all of whom were murdered by Britain’s official and unofficial forces in Ireland. A moment’s silence in memory of the dead followed.

Ten city councillors joined the protest at various stages to show solidarity, although the motion was not debated due to time constraints.

The demonstration was closed by Brian Leeson who stated eirigi’s intention to organise further opposition to a state visit by Elizabeth Windsor over the coming months. Speaking afterwards Leeson said: “Tonight represented a very fitting response to Brian Cowen’s announcement that he intends to invite the commander in chief of Britain’s armed forces to Ireland.

“Those who hoped that a British royal visit would be met with widespread support in the Twenty-Six Counties are in for a big surprise. We are confident that a very sizeable number of people are totally opposed to such a visit and that they will be making their opposition clear as we get closer to the time of the proposed visit.”

© 2010 Irish Republican News