Cold Irish welcome for British Commander-in-Chief
Cold Irish welcome for British Commander-in-Chief

A convoy of armoured vehicles today shepherded British monarch Elizabeth Windsor through the empty streets of Dublin city centre in the first and most controversial day of a hugely expensive and oppressive ‘royal visit’.

Garda police held back noisy demonstrators as Windsor took part in a cringe-inducing ritual at the Garden of Remembrance, Ireland’s principal memorial to those who were executed by the British following the 1916 Easter Rising.

Protestors, tourists and members of the public alike were kept well out of sight as a military band shamefully struck up the British national anthem, God Save the Queen.

Snipers and armed police patrolled rooftops and even a church spire overlooking the garden as Windsor and 26-County President Mary McAleese stood side-by-side to perform a wreath laying. The noise of spotter planes and police helicopters served to drown out the sound of the nearby protest.

Windsor then moved through a ghost town in a phalanx of about 15 bullet-proof landrovers with darkened windows. The convoy travelled through evacuated streets in the heart of Dublin, passing the GPO, the bastion of the 1916 Rising, before it reached Trinity College, also evacuated of its students. There Windsor and her husband met selected members of Ireland’s pro-British elite.

The security operation is the biggest ever mounted in the history of the 26 County State, and will directly cost some 30 million euro. The loss of business activity over the next four days is expected to reach more than twice that amount.

Relatives of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings earlier held a commemoration in memory of those who died in those attacks, believed to have been planned by members of the British Crown forces 37 years ago today.

Although one media commentator inadvertently compared Windsor’s attendance at the Garden of Remembrance to the visit by German chancellor Angela Merkel to Israel’s holocaust memorial, media coverage has been strongly sycophantic, with no mention of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

eirigi organised an alternative wreath-laying ceremony at No 16 Moore Street in Dublin - the location of the final headquarters of the 1916 rising, before staging a protest.

“The stage is now set for the Commander-in-Chief of those who planted the Dublin and Monaghan car bombs to pass within metres of where one of those bombs killed eleven innocent people,” eirigi said.

Members of Republican Sinn Fein marched up Dorset Street and placed a picket at the junction of Frederick Street North and Dorset Street, as close as possible to the Garden of Remembrance.

“While England rules any part of Ireland the British monarch is not welcome here and Republican Sinn Fein will protest throughout the visit,” the group said in a statement.

Members of Sinn Fein, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee and other groups were also involved in protests.

There was trouble later at barricades leading towards Parnell Square as protestors jostled with police. At one stage, two flares were lit and thrown into the air, and some missiles were thrown.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News