While Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness appears set to personally welcome a British monarch to the north of Ireland later this month, others have said they plan to protest the visit.
eirigi general secretary Breandan Mac Cionnaith has said the socialist republican party will be actively opposing the forthcoming visit by ‘Queen Elizabeth II’ (Elizabeth Windsor) and her entourage.
It was announced this week that Windsor will be touring the Six Counties on June 26 and 27.
Up to 10,000 unionists are set to rally at Stormont parliament buildings outside Belfast as part of the ‘celebrations’. A visit by the monarch to nationalist Fermanagh is also planned.
British Direct Ruler Owen Paterson said he was “delighted that local people would get the opportunity to be a part of the celebrations” to mark the 60th anniversary of Windsor’s reign.
“I know that Her Majesty will receive the warmest of welcomes,” he said.
“This is a truly historic occasion and an opportunity to recognise the service and dedication of Her Majesty to the whole United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and her people.”
However, Mr MacCionnaith said his party would oppose the visit.
“The presence of Elizabeth Windsor in any part of Ireland while her political and military apparatus continues to occupy the Six Counties is an insult to Irish sovereignty,” he said.
“It is also a slap in the face to all those who have lost loved ones as a result of the British-imposed conflict in this country.
“Elizabeth Windsor is commander-in-chief of Britain’s armed forces and the primary representative of an imperial entity that has misruled and robbed millions for centuries, to pretend otherwise is to connive at the damage this imperial entity still wreaks.”
Sinn Fein has given strong indications that a ‘historic’ meeting will take place between and the monarch and McGuinness, who is the North’s Deputy First Minister.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the meeting would be “a big ask”.
Sinn Fein refused to meet Windsor during her trip to the 26 Counties last year, which they said was premature. Nevertheless, a Sinn Fein mayor of Cashel, County Tipperary, greeted the queen in the town last year, apparently in defiance of party instructions.
At an event in Dublin Castle during that visit, Windsor said: “With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.” The remark was characterised as a breakthrough in the peace process by government officials and establishment figures.
Speaking at the party’s Ard Fheis in County Kerry last week, Mr Adams said: “The island is still partitioned. Probably, most certainly, what Queen Elizabeth said in this state helped to normalise the relationship between this state and the English monarchy.
“But as I said it took 100 years for that to happen, but it would be a huge thing, Irish Republicans, all of the legacy issues, the continued partition of the island, it would be a huge thing for us to do.”
Mac Cionnaith said the royal tour would reinforce inequality in the North, which he said had been effectively “shut down” last week as part of the Royal Jubilee. He described the anniversary of Windsor’s coronation as “a ridiculous fawning exercise” for a “social parasite”.
“We are now facing the prospect of a security lock-down on June 26 and 27. This is proof positive that the Six County state continues to operate in the interests of those who created it, not those who live in it.”
He said eirigi would be actively opposing the visit for many reasons.
“We will be opposing it because the same woman recently had the cheek to sit in the House of Commons in a million pound hat and preach to the poor about austerity.
“We will be opposing it because the notion of monarchy is an insult to the intelligence of all thinking human beings. We will be opposing it because British soldiers still stalk the roads of Afghanistan, inflicting death on an innocent people.
“We will be opposing it because Britain has absolutely no right in Ireland and, until this fact is recognised, neither does Elizabeth Windsor.”