Windsor to visit Croke Park, republican memorial
Windsor to visit Croke Park, republican memorial

The planned itinerary for a visit next month by the professed ‘Queen of England’ has provoked anger and disbelief.

According to official announcements in Dublin and London, Elizabeth Windsor and her royal entourage will visit sites clearly intended to cause maximum provocation, including Croke Park - the scene of one of the most infamous massacres by British troops in Irish history, when 14 civilians attending a hurling match were randomly shot dead.

The trip, from May 17 to 20, will be the first by a British monarch to the 26 Counties. As monarch, Windsor is also the commander-in-chief of the British armed forces.

She will visit Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance, which honours those who fought for Irish freedom against the British.

There will also be events at Trinity College Dublin, the National War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge, the Guinness Storehouse, the Irish National Stud in Kildare as well as events in Cashel and Cork.

Adding further insult to the event is that her arrival marks the anniversary of the 1974 Dublin-Monaghan bombings, in which British forces are alleged to have colluded in the massacre of 33 civilians in the 26 Counties.

Sinn Fein described the visit as “premature”. As details of the visit were announced, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said his party was aware of the offence the visit will cause, particularly to victims of British rule and “those with legacy issues”.

“The scheduling of the visit on the anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings is particularly insensitive,” he said.

“It is widely believed that the Dublin and Monaghan bombings were carried out with the involvement of and direction of British military intelligence.

“The British authorities have repeatedly refused to release the files in their possession on this attack.”

He said that, despite an all-party motion in parliament, the Dublin government had failed to press the British for the release of these files.

“Sinn Fein wants to see the normalisation of relationships between our two nations and republicans have been in the leadership of this process but that can only be based on mutual respect and equality and on the ending of the partition of Ireland.”

eirigi chair Brian Leeson said that the visit is designed to “rub salt in the wounds of the victims of British violence in Ireland”.

Speaking in Dublin, Leeson said: “The itinerary that has been announced today appears to have been deliberately designed to cause maximum offence to the victims of British state-sponsored violence in Ireland.”

Mr Leeson said Windsor is to attend a number of events in Dublin city centre within walking distance of where those car bombs exploded in Parnell Street, Talbot Street and South Leinster Street.

“Her intention to visit the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square is provocative in the extreme. The garden is located only a couple of hundred metres from Parnell Street where one of those British bombs killed eleven people. And the Garden itself is dedicated to those who have given their lives in the fight for Irish freedom.

“The fight for Irish freedom didn’t end with partition, it continues to this day. For as long as the British occupation of the Six Counties continues the prospect of a British head of state attending a ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance is as insulting as it is provocative.

“Those who have attempted to portray this visit as a non-political celebrity event have now been exposed as complete fools. This state visit has been designed with only one objective -- the normalisation of the British occupation of the Six Counties. The itinerary announced today confirms that beyond doubt.

He said the “elite of Britain and Ireland” had planned lavish banquets and trips to stud farms “at a time when the vast majority of the people in this state are struggling to survive.

“The entire spectacle is nothing short of disgusting.”

“We in eirigi are committed to opposing this visit in as robust a manner as possible. We are calling on the people across Ireland to get involved in the campaign of opposition to this visit.

“In particular to the young people of Dublin we are appealing. This is their city, the city of the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Rising, a city with a proud tradition of opposition to British imperialism. A city which we hope will greet the British monarch with protest and defiance.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News